If you’ve invited vegetarians to your Memorial Day cookout, be smart: Do your homework.
Research vegan wines to pair with your veggie and Portobello burgers.
Vegan wines, for the uninitiated, are those made without using any animal products. Fish bladders, for example, are sometimes used in non-vegan brands for “fining” bottlings, a final stage of winemaking to rid wines of cloudiness and stray particles.
Scott Lindstrom-Dake, vintner of Healdsburg’s Thumbprint Cellars, is a vegetarian who makes vegan wine across the board because he can’t stomach using animal products.
“I was crushing at other facilities and I saw people using a sturgeon bladder to fine wine,” he said. “That’s the one that tripped me up. I couldn’t imagine adding that to my wine.”
Like-minded vegan producers in Sonoma County include Seghesio Family Vineyards, Frey Vineyards and Alexander Valley Vineyards. When you peruse their offerings, look for whites and reds that are light and crisp, ones that will let the vegetarian fare play center stage. Tasty whites that fit this profile include gewürztraminer, viognier, marsanne, roussanne, albariño and gruner veltliner. Reds, equally light on their feet, are grenache, pinot noir and Beaujolais.
Here are four vegan bottlings that won’t disappoint.
Thumbprint Cellars, 2015 MRV Sonoma County White Table Wine at $35. It’s bright and lively, with bold citrus notes and great minerality.
Thumbprint Cellars, 2014, Smith Ranch Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley Grenache at $47. It’s a tangy grenache with notes of raspberry and red plum, and it finishes crisp.
Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewurtz, 2017 Mendocino County at $14. It’s nice and dry with notes of grapefruit, peach and pear, and it has a nice length.
Alexander Valley Vineyards, 2016 Alexander Valley Estate Pinot Noir at $30. It has aromas and flavors of raspberry, cherry and plum. This pinot also has crisp acidity and a lingering finish.
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 707-521-5310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.