Looking for some excellent quality Vegan-friendly wines this Veganuary? Fionnuala Harkin from Wines Direct and the wonderful Wine Shed gives her top picks for vino-loving vegans this January…
Fionnuala is a woman of many talents when it comes to wine! Not only is she a wine merchant for the wonderful Wines Direct, she is also a wine consultant for the hospitality industry, a WSET course instructor and also founder of the brilliant Wine Shed West Cork.
She has an immaculate palate, and her wine knowledge is immense! Back in the time before the C-word, Fionnuala established Wine Shed – a boutique gathering of people who love wine, great company, delicious nibbly bits and wanted to wrap all of that up as an excuse to learn more about wine. I attended, I think, three of the events and they were always brilliant. Since we found ourselves in Covid-restricted times, when such jovial gatherings are on hold until some hopeful point in the future, Fionnuala took to her @wineshedwestcork Instagram account to give a regular Wine O’Clock virtual tasting on new and interesting wines. It kept the Wine Shed community going, and also brought her knowledge to a whole new audience. One day, the gatherings will commence again, but in the meantime, I encourage you heartily to follow Fionnuala and @wineshedwestcork.
Of course, it’s January, and that means it’s also Veganuary – a time when we are encouraged to try and up our quotient of plant-based foods or go completely Vegan for one month as a way to raise awareness of the movement. Even though I am a carnivore, after the Christmas excesses, Veganuary seems a good idea as a way of getting used to eating in a normal, and healthy, way again!
It is not widely known that wine is not always guaranteed Vegan, and in fact it may not always say it on the label either. This is where having a connection with a local wine merchant, like Fionnuala, comes in fierce handy – they will know which wines are and are not Vegan friendly.
So I asked Fionnuala if she could share with me her recommendations for excellent quality January wines for Veganuary. And note that excellent quality doesn’t translate automatically as ‘pricey’ and there are wines here for every budget.
All these wines are available to order online at www.winesdirect.ie for delivery direct to your door. And if you would like a little extra advice, you can contact Fionnuala either by DM to @wineshedwestcork or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wines Direct have about 150 excellent vegan wines available – but here is a small selection that Fionnuala really rates! Price per bottle in brackets, and links to the correct Wines Direct page are included too.
- Domaine Horgelus Sauvignon Blanc / Colombard (12.40) or Merlot / Tannat (12.95) Delicious, fruity and easy-drinking wines from Gascogne in the south of France.
- Neleman Verdil / Viognier or Tempranillo / Monastrell (14) from organic farmer Dereck Neleman in Spain. Also carbon neutral thanks to abundant tree planting, and very cool wines!
- Chateau Sainte Marie Bordeaux white (15.50) or red (15.95) An excellent Bordeaux pair from the Dupuch family-owned vineyard, a pure treat – at January friendly prices!
- Ciu Ciu Merlettaie (16.50) An interesting local grape, Pecorino, gives us great texture and tingly freshness in this gorgeous organic wine from Marche in Italy.
- Chateau la Baronne Les Lanes (17.45) Organic, Biodynamic and natural, this blend of Carignan and Grenache from Corbieres, made by husband and wife team Anne and Jean Lignieres, has become a from favourite with Wine Shed viewers.
In the ‘natural, unfiltered, for the more adventurous drinker’ category, Fionnuala recommends:
- Kamara Pure Shadow Play Assyrtiko (26.75) and Kamara Pure Nimbus Xinomavro / Syrah / Merlot (27.95) Both from the father and daughter team of Dimitrios and Stavroula Kioutsoukis from Thessaloniki in Greece. Organic, very low intervention, vegan, unfiltered. The white is naturally cloudy, the red is rich and full bodied, both full of flavour!