As you already know from our no nonsense guide to food and wine matching there are some considerations to be made when deciding on good pairings. What does it mean for vegan recipes and vegan wine? Are there are additional ‘rules’? Are there any suggestions that affect the pairings?
1. Your vegan recipe will most probably contain less protein - it will prompt you to source your wine with less tannins. Tannins give that additional bitterness, which could be more noticeable and not very pleasant. In diets rich in protein, it binds with tannins and creates a more round mouthfeel. Otherwise people with high sensitivity to bitterness can feel tannins as more astringent.
Tannic wines usually are very deeply coloured and most typical high in tannin varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo or Touriga Nacional just to name a few. Less tannic wines are lighter in colour and are made of Pinot Noir and sometimes Garnacha or Tempranillo for medium levels of tannins.
2. Your vegan recipe will contain less fat - it means your vegan wine doesn’t need to be very acidic acidic. Even though you can cook a vegan meal with loads of vegetable oil, it is still much leaner than animal derived fat content, so when selecting a vegan wine consider options that are lower in acidity - generally go for rounder flavour profile. You can find that in warmer climates as the grapes ripen more and give a richer mouthfeel without sharp acidity. South of Spain produces aromatic white wines from Macabeo and Garnacha Blanca grapes just to name a few. Ask for richer and rounder vegan white wines with generous fruit flavours.
3. Salt and acid (i.e. lemon juice) remain as your top food friends, so salads dressed wth olive oil and lemon juice would be great, same as lightly seasoning your meals with some salt (you do not need to go over the top with this).
4. Vegan recipes are quite often fragrant and sometimes spicy, it remains to be a category to be dealt with caution, but going for riper styles of wines and with just a touch of sweetness (no need for residual sugars, just riper grapes) will create a very pleasant contrast.
Also check the alcohol strength of your vegan wine - spicier dishes will make you feel that burn a bit more if your wine is strong. Go for 12 - 13% abv wines.
As a reminder, vegan wine is such made with no animal derived materials. The latter could be used in wine’s filtration or clarification and traces could still be left in the finished wine. Vegan wines are most often unfiltered and unclarified, some filtered examples were produced using bentonite (clay) filtration. Unfiltered wines might have a slightly hazy appearance, so not to panic, your wine isn’t off it might just be an unfiltered one. We find many unfiltered wines quite attractive in terms of flavours as they retain maximum of them in a finished product.
The suggested vegan wines are recommended by us to try if you want to explore this exciting world of vegan wine. Let us know how you get on please!