Last Saturday I was the hostess of an intimate wine tasting at my home and it turned out great! Everyone had fun, enjoyed some great wine, and each other’s company. I can’t wait to do it again.
I served a Sauvignon Blanc, a Red wine, and a Cabernet Sauvignon- all from the Vegan Vine wine. The Vegan Vine wine is sourced from the Clos LaChance Estate Vineyards in San Martin, California. I’ve got tons of great stuff to say about them, like how the vineyard is certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, or how the wine is bottled in Eco Glass (25% lighter than regular wine bottles), or how awesome they are for sponsoring the Vida Vegan Conference in Portland next month. Vegan Vine wine is made without the use of common animal ingredients normally used in wine making such as; gelatin, casein, isinglass, and albumen (egg whites). All of that and they taste- well, I’ll get to the tasting notes in a minute.
An aside about Vegan Vine- they specifically mention that they fertilize their soil with mushroom compost and chicken manure from local farms. It has to be said that chicken manure is far from vegan. Now, I realize this seems almost “nit-picky” as most farmers use animal waste as fertilizer. But that would be missing the connection- we wouldn’t have chicken manure if we weren’t raising chickens for food. So it begs the question: Should we, as vegans, use the waste of farmed animals? It’s something to think about.
UPDATE: I was just informed that the Vegan Vine now only uses mushroom compost and no chicken manure! Excellent! A true vegan wine :)
On to the tasting. My first course was hors d’oeuvres:
I served four types of dips on warm whole grain toast: Mushroom, Sweet Potato, Black Olive, and Bruschetta. I used recipes that I had not tried before found on Five Easy Dips | Healthy. Happy. Life. for everything but the Bruschetta (that was homemade using herbs from my garden). My guest enjoyed all of these dips with the exception of the mushroom- it was unanimous that raw mushrooms are yucky in a dip. I might try to make it again, cooking the mushrooms instead of leaving them raw.
The little hors d’oeuvres paired perfectly with the Sauvignon Blanc- which was crisp and light with hints of fruit (think citrus). It’s pleasing on the nose, with notes of wet grass and lemon. I’ve always been a lover of red wines and preferred them over white- until now.
Our second course brought us decadence in a ramekin:
I served individual servings of Post Punk Kitchen’s Mac & Shews topped with croutons from Edward & Sons that I made into breadcrumbs. I’ve never made this before either, but my friend Chubby Vegan told me it was good and I believed him. Glad I did, it turned out delicious. I will say that I prefer my dishes with more spice- I think I’d add more garlic, pepper, and oregano the next time.
Overall, it paired perfectly with the Vegan Vine Red wine- which was full of flavor, almost like a merlot. On the nose, berries- raspberries, cherries. On the palate, fruity with hint of wood. The Central Coast Red is an interesting blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Cinsaut, Carignan, and Mouvedre. I could have easily had this course over and over again.
My final course of the evening was the dessert course- a feast for the eyes:
Chocolate bottom brownies, chocolate topped brownies with coconut, and chocolate covered strawberries- with and without coconut, all graced the table. I paired the chocolate decadence with the Cabernet Sauvignon, which was bold. On the nose, dark fruits (think plum, blackberries). On the palate, rich with a dark berry taste and a smooth finish. The chocolate enhanced the flavor of the wine, bringing out subtle spice notes. We were split evenly on which red was our favorite, some preferring the woody fruit taste of the Coastal Red over the rich bold flavor of the Cabernet. One thing we all agreed on, the Vegan Vine wine is fine wine indeed. Or, as one of our attendees put it: “Nice. Quite.”
Finally, one attendee at our tasting was not thrilled that she was not permitted to eat or drink. Which was fine, she just kept us company and added some cuteness to our evening.