Wine has been on our list of topics to explore with you (oh yeah, we love lists, don’t we Frey?!), but as epicureans ourselves, we do know that grapes is a complex and rich subject, close to our cultures, our tastebuds, and also our health and nutrition.
So, we thought: who better than a sommelier to light our bulbs on the science behind making and appreciating wine? So here we are, chatting with our dear friend and founder of A Taste of Wine, Sophie Jarry. Her mission is to empower her fellow wine lovers to learn, taste and travel around the theme of wine.
We are not here to debate on that one glass a day keeping the doctor away… but we are interested in the quality and the nature of the wines you are going to be sipping. In fact, there are so many health and nutrition related aspects when it comes to vino that today, we will focus on a particular one. We will try to understand what vegan wines are, what to look for in vegan wine labels, and as like you, we love practical information, we will tell you about our favorite Bangkok vegan wine bottles.
Vegan wines 101
We feel that we live in an era where information is so widely accessible, and people are more and more careful about what is in their plates and glasses. Wine is no exception to that. So are you, like Sophie, passionate about the art of wine? Or are you an occasional social drinker, a food & wine pairing believer, or just curious about labels? Whatever your answer, you might want to be aware about your wine being either vegan or containing traces of animal products.
Organic wines and vegan wines
First of all, are we clear on this? Vegan wines and organic wines are two different things. (Just to make sure!) While organic wines is a topic on its own, it is true that they often associate well, but what makes a vegan wine no matter whether it is organic or not, is its content or lack of animal-based products.
The fining process is what is going to determine whether a wine will be plant-based or not. That is when certain additives (fining agents) are incorporated to the wine, going one step further filtration basically.
Why are fining agents important?
After going through fermentation, the wine will still contain proteins, polymerised tannins and lees in suspension. Colloids can’t be removed by filtering or centrifuging so fining becomes relevant to clarify the wine.
What makes most wines non vegan?
The aim of fining is to get a clear wine that will be more stable for bottling and cellaring. Most fining agents are animal-based. The most commonly known is egg white (albumen). It might seem unbelievable to imagine eggs in wine but it’s only an example of what is used in this particular process.
Are all fining agents animal-based?
Sophie: “Besides egg white, other fining agents are: bentonite, gelatin, isinglass (fish bladder), charcoal, casein, milk… and the list goes on! So there are high chances that your basic supermarket wine will contain traces of animal protein if the bottle does not state otherwise.”
Look for the vegan label
The vegan label will certify that your wine is totally free of traces of animal. More often than not, vegan wines will also be organic.
Wine fun fact! Egg whites being used in such great amount in Bordeaux wine fining, led to a huge supply of egg yolks, and this is how the delicious Cannelé cake recipe was born in the 18th century!
About Sophie JARRY and A Taste of Wine
During her Wine and Spirit Education Trust level 3 degree (WSET), Sophie had the idea to gather her friends in her living room and share a few bottles of wines. Initially, the concept was to split the cost of delectable wines while sharing the expertise to the club. It started with just 10 people, and the group quickly doubled which led moving the venues from her living room to the gardens and houses of friends. After a couple of years, Sophie and her partners realized their community exceeded 100 people and needed larger venues to accommodate them… And A taste of Wine was born.
Sophie achieved her WSET diploma in 2018. She is passionate about tasting and helping people discover what they truly like. Her strengths are in Wine education and discovering new terroirs. Sophie will never let you back back home without making sure you had a good time and learnt something!
Today, Social wine tastings by A Taste of Wine have spread from London to Paris, and we have hopes they will one day enlighten our thirsty selves all the way here in Bangkok 😉
Bangkok vegan wines
Are you vegan? fruitarian? Or like us, just thirsty now that we have just learnt more about vegan wines?
So to put in practice that useful knowledge, we are now heading to About Eatery near Asoke.
About Eatery It is the first natural wine bar in Thailand, and what My Healthy Bangkok considers one of the best places in town to have wine and something delicious to munch.
We are happy to now be aware of their vegan wine list, and what is more, here is About Eatery’s owner – Giulio Saverino – special pick for us today!
“Peek a Boo Pet-Nat” from Jauma, McLaren Vale, Australia
Peek a Boo is very particular and interesting light sparkling wine with a beautiful pink salmon colour with aromas of strawberries, raspberries, pink grapefruit and mangosteen. On the palate, the wine is fresh clean with very delicate bubbles and sweet red fruits finish. Overall, The wine is cloudy, subtle bubbles which is not usual for normal sparkling wines. (see photo attached) The method that the wine is made called Pet-Nat.
Pet-Nat or “Petillant Naturel” produces in the method ancestrale where the wine is bottled prior fully completing its first fermentation, allowing carbon dioxide to be produced by the natural sugars found in the grapes. This production method is contrary to the Méthode Champenoise (Champagne method) where the base wine is fully fermented, then undergoes a secondary fermentation in bottle by adding sugar and yeast called Liquor de Tirage. Unlike Champagne Pet-Nat is not disgorged and usually not filtered make this wine suitable for vegan.
– Giulio Saverino, About Eatery