I want to start off this review by letting you know that I am writing it dressed in my finest clothes and sipping on said wine. Okay, no I’m not, I’m actually sitting in pajamas writing this from my bed! I just want you to imagine the former is what I’m doing, for ambience sake. I mean we are speaking about wine here! Now, although the first picture I created is not true, the wonderful evening I had sharing the Vegan Vine wines with friends at a small tasting me and my friend Chrystal of the Duo Dishes did at her apartment recently is indeed true.
A beautiful spread was laid out for the guests to welcome them in for a tantalizing tango for their taste buds. Chrystal prepared a beautiful vegan spread to pair with the four varietals of wine. The first pairing was a Spicy Butternut Squash Soup and the 2011 Vegan Vine Chardonnay, followed by Beet Edamame Grapefruit Salad with the 2010 Vegan Vine Sauvignon Blanc. Next up was the main course of Mixed Mushroom Couscous (recipe below) coupled with the 2009 Vegan Vine Red Wine Blend. The guests were ready for more and of course would not pass up the dessert pairing of Strawberry Shortcake and the 2008 Vegan Vine Cabernet Sauvignon to complete the tasting.
Now, I would be completely remiss to pain the picture that this evening was all about food and wine. It is very important to note that this tasting was about education as well. The guests in attendance were vegan friendly, but not vegan. This to me was the best part. First, to get the opinion of the wine and then to shed knowledge with them about what separates the Vegan Vine from other wine and continue to prove how delicious vegan food is! They were surprised and intrigued to find out that not all wine is created vegan. What, you didn’t know either? The most common ingredients used in wine making are:
Isinglass- a pure form of gelatin from sturgeon fish bladders
Gelatin- extract from boiled cow’s or pig’s hooves and sinews
Albumin- egg whites
Caseins- a protein from milk
Yup, there are many seasoned vegan wine drinkers who have no idea that animals ingredients are used to get wine in their glass. According to the Vegan Vine literature, these animal products are often used as fining or filtration aids in the wine making process as they aid in removing solids. These are typically filtered out of the wine prior to the bottling phase, however the use of these ingredients can make many wines unsuitable for vegans. Heading to your wine rack right now aren’t ya? The Vegan Vine is working very hard to educate consumers about this and providing great tasting vegan wine for all to enjoy! For more information about the Vegan Vine, where and how to buy and information on joining their wine club, please visit their site at www.theveganvine.com.
The guests enjoyed all of the food and wine so much that another VEGAN event has been scheduled for next month. Not only were they pleased with the wine, they had many questions about veganism as well. I just love it when a plan comes together!
Here is what the guests had to say:
“After this tasting, I see myself buying strictly vegan wines only. The Chardonnay was amazing, and I’m not a Chardonnay fan and now I am! The Chardonnay is light and delicious. – Joresa Blunt
“The Cabernet was by far the best, very smooth. I would have a glass by itself.” – Josalyn M. Jennings
“The Chardonnay would be one of my top picks. It was bright, well balanced and amazing. The red blend was a nice compliment to the mushroom couscous. I have never had vegan wine before and I am in love! Can’t wait to visit the winery.” – Josephine (Josie) Close
“I liked the 2009 red blend. I thought it was very smooth and it didn’t have a bad after taste that I experience with other red wines.” – Thurston Cherry
Well, the jury has spoken! The Vegan Vine wines were a hit and turned four non-vegans into believers and new customers!
Here is the recipe for the mushroom couscous for you to try at home with the red blend! Enjoy and always do so responsibly! 😉
What You Need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth, warm
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
10 ounces Israeli couscous, cooked
2 tablespoons vegan butter
Fine sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, optional
What You Do:
1. Heat the olive oil over a medium flame in a large skillet. Once hot, add the mushroom, stirring until they are coated in the oil. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until softened.
2. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the broth and cornstarch. Pour the mixture over the mushrooms, then stir in the cooked couscous. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the liquid thickens.
4. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the vegan butter. Season to taste with salt and garnish with parsley, if desired.
When Christa isn’t entertaining and educating guests about vegan wine, you can find her blogging at www.vegginoutwithchrista.com!