Get Ready for Vegan-uary with these wonderful wines

The enjoyment (and excesses?) of the festive season are almost behind us and another year, indeed another decade beckons.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 12:00 pm
Wines fro Veganuary
Wines fro Veganuary

Traditionally a time for reflection and time to make all those New Year’s Resolutions we vow to keep and never do! Nevertheless, a pause, or at least slowing- down of the food and alcohol intake, even for a few weeks, doesn’t do any of us any harm.

Health is hugely important and taking stock every now and then, of what we put into our bodies is a good start to a New Year.

Last year, I came across one brave soul who was not only doing ‘Dry January’, but Vegan-uary – a totally vegan diet – at the same time. Hats off, he stuck with it until February 1, when he tucked into a rare sirloin steak accompanied by frites and a good bottle of Saint Emilion. But for those of us who may wish to try being a vegan for a month, or who are perhaps already committed to that lifestyle, but don’t want to go the whole hog on the wine front, here are a couple of wines which are suitable for vegans.

The Vegan Society claims that over half of UK adults have adopted “vegan buying behaviour”, which coupled with the enormous increase in people who are full-time vegans, has led to a major increase in demand for wines which are vegan-friendly and are clearly marked as such. The Wine Society, along with many in the wine trade, uses the definitions provided by The Vegan Society.

The following two wines, one white and one red, are both available from The Wine Society. The Society’s White Burgundy 2018, priced at £9.95, is the Society’s best-loved and most-bought wine for many years. Coming from the southern-most part of Burgundy, this Mâcon white continues to rise above the ebb and flow of fashion. Buyer Tim Sykes works with long-term supplier Jean-Marc Darbon to craft a blend that is of consistently good quality while respecting vintage differences. 2018 was a warm, ripe vintage, and the wine has lovely depth of flavour and roundness of texture with appley fruit and a fresh finish. Remarkable value.

The vegan-friendly red is Foresco Umbria, Barberani 2017 at £10.50 a bottle. Umbria is the region adjascent to Tuscany, yet a little less known. A beautiful, hilly area producing some exceptionally good value wines. This is a generous, warm-flavoured Italian red that makes a great alternative to pricier super-Tuscans. It is a well-judged blend of 80 percent sangiovese with 10 percent each merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Ripe tannins, with full fruit on the palate and the slight bitterness of the Sangiovese grape. Fabulous with strong flavoured pasta dishes.

Richard Esling BSc DipWSET is an experienced wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. An erstwhile wine importer, he runs a wine agency and consultancy company called WineWyse, is founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy, chairman of Arundel Wine Society and is an International Wine Judge. Follow him on Twitter @richardwje.

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