Our wine expert Steve Hearnden is all about vegan wine this month, if not the food to match it!
What does the word vegan mean to you? In recent months there has been an increase in enquiries regarding vegan wine. Not every winemaker matches the criteria but, fortunately, Tastebuds Wines does have one, and Domaine Les Chemins de Bassac is very proud of the certificate the French authorities have issued them.
I have written about these wines before but they have now become important because of their new status. Les Chemins de Bassac is in the middle of the village of Puimisson within the region of Languedoc, perhaps a half hour drive from Beziers. A 17-hectare estate which is surrounded by woodland, rolling hillsides and canals, this area does have a unique micro-climate: cool winters and hot and humid summers make the grapes grow well, which, in turn, produce good fruity wines.
The Domain has recently re-named their wines but Tastebuds Wines still has the last vintages of the old brand, namely, Isa!
Isa Blanc is produced from the Viognier and Roussanne grapes, which in turn, produce a dry soft white wine. It has apricots and peaches as the ‘base’ bouquet and taste. The aromas develop in the glass and have an added floral hint. In the mouth, the tip of the tongue gives a little sugar but the balanced acidity soon takes over with a soft medium finish – it’s perfect for drinking on its own.
Isa Rouge is the result of blending Cabernet, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. It’s a very complex wine with a mixture of aromas coming into the nose. Summer fruits, with added cherry, are very evident to start with, but spice then develops gently to confuse the overall bouquet.
Take a little to try and you will find the fruity flavours coming through, with a little sugar on the tongue, too.
The complexity of the addition of spice gives this wine extra interest.
Isa Rosé is a positive pink and so beautifully bright and clear. Just three grapes make this a perfect summer wine: Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah – and what a great combination. These grapes do have dark skins and consequently the colour is as it is, but the key is in the bouquet, which has soft black cherries, wood and spice. A dry balanced rosé wine with fruit and spice and with a medium aftertaste, this is just perfect for drinking on its own, or is perfect for the BBQ on a hot summer’s day. I did write about this wine last month, as I am very enthusiastic about it, especially now we are coming into warmer weather.
Not being a vegan, I have to let those who are choose the food which would accompany the Isa range but, for me – and I eat most things – the white does go well with fish, white meats and cheese, as long as there are no cream sauces with the chicken or fish! The red, for me, is perfect with new season lamb, and the rosé wine goes well with either all the above or nothing at all!
These all retail for more than £11 a bottle but, as a special Feast offer, buy two bottles of each colour for £60 (delivery £6 extra).
- Tastebuds Wines, Norwich Road, Strumpshaw, opens by appointment. Visit www.tastebudswines.co.uk
Recipe published in Feast Issue 37