Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The Pick of Wines for World Vegan Month

You may not be aware of this but November is World Vegan Month. So in the spirit of jumping on this very worthy bandwagon and celebrating all things vegan, we're on the lookout for the best vegan wines around.

Vegan wines? But aren't all wines made of grapes and therefore automatically vegan and vegetarian? Well, no, unfortunately not.

It's true that grapes and sometimes other fruit are the main ingredient in wine, but did you know that animal-derived products are often used to filter or clarify wines before bottling? Many wines are far from clear after fermentation ends, so the majority of winemakers choose to filter out any particles to ensure a nice' clear wine for their customers. An exception to this are so-called 'natural wines' which undergo as little interference as possible during the winemaking process.

So which animal based products can be used to filter wine? Egg white, milk protein, blood, fish bladder, fish oil, shellfish fibres and gelatine are just some of the animal products that can be used to filter and clarify wines. For a wine to be vegan, it can only be filtered using non-animal derived products like bentonite clay, charcoal, silica gel or plant casein. For a wine to be vegetarian, it could also be filtered using egg white or milk protein.

Some vegan wines have the Vegan Society's stamp of approval but some wines, are not obviously vegan, especially those made by small artisan producers. Luckily, online wine retailer Rude Wines have 185 vegan wines for you to choose from, with a handy vegan wine section on their website.

Although many of these wines are not labelled as vegan, Rude Wines’ buyer Gerald has scrutinised the production process and has carefully selected these wines to ensure that no animal products have been used in their production.

What to eat during world vegan month
With the days getting shorter and winter well and truly on the way, warming dishes like stews and casseroles are a great choice to keep that internal central heating well lit.

We love this recipe for hearty vegan Puy Lentil Bolognese. The lentils help to thicken the rich tomato and Thyme based sauce, and served with pasta this Bolognese will fill you up ready for a cosy evening in hibernation mode.

Our pick of the bunch
A popular choice among Rude Wines' customers, both vegans and carnivores alike, Les Traverses Rouge 2016 is a ripe blend of Syrah and Grenache grapes. 100% vegan and made in the Rhone valley by well-respected producer Paul Jaboulet Ainé, it's a very soft red with medium body and a great finish. At £9.99 per bottle, you’d be hard pushed to find a better-quality vegan wine from such a prized vineyard location. Winemaker Caroline Frey follows biodynamic growing practices to ensure the grape vines stay in optimum health and the finished wines have maximum flavour.

If you prefer your whites to your reds, Ventoux Les Traverses Blanc 2015 is another great vegan choice and is currently on offer at £8.49. Also made by producer Paul Jaboulet Ainé, this is a vibrant and punchy Grenache with notes of ripe pears and white peaches. A perfect accompaniment to Asian soups and salads, try this with a warm dressed salad of miso-coated roast tofu, watercress, fresh coriander and avocado.

Vegan Puy Lentil Bolognese
Serves 8

Ingredients

2 tsp (10ml) Olive oil
2 Large onions, finely chopped
3 Carrots, diced
2 Stems celery, finely chopped
2 tsp (10ml) Fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp (5ml) dried thyme
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp (30ml) Tomato purée
1lb 2oz (500g) Puy lentils, rinsed and drained
400g Tin of tomatoes
2 pints 12 fl oz (1.5l) Vegetable stock
1 tbsp (15ml) Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pasta, Rice, Jacket Potatoes or Tortilla Chips and a green salad to serve

Method

1. Heat a large pan until medium hot. Add the olive oil, onions, carrots and celery and soften.
2. Then add the thyme, garlic and tomato purée and turn the heat up. Stir well then add the puy lentils.
3. Add the tinned tomatoes and the vegetable stock, stir well and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 20-25 mins, until the lentils are tender and the sauce reduced slightly.
4. Add the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
5. Simmer for a further 15 mins and prepare the sides according to their instructions.

As an alternative add chilli sauce and tinned kidney beans to make a Chilli and serve with rice.

No comments:

Post a comment

I appreciate your comments. If you have any tips, tricks or tweaks please pass them on!