I’ve read about it but never before actually caught sight of it. But there it was, emblazoned on the back label of my bottle of wine.
I’m drinking Nuevo Mundo Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec, Maipo Valley, Chile 2009 on a couch at the Makawao Steak House. The green movement has been alive and well in viticulture for the past decade, with organic and biodynamic wines leading the charge. Many of these wines are, in fact, vegan by definition. But the Nuevo Mundo is the first I’ve witnessed to declare this on the label.
Let’s break it down. Most wines go through a fining/filtration process that requires animal-derived ingredients to remove excess grape skins, stems, yeast cells, etc. These ingredients range from simple egg whites to sturgeon fish bladders. Sometimes even deer blood, very un-vegan. The vegan label assures you the absence of these practices.
The Nuevo Mundo displays a slightly more rustic color and contains more sediment than traditional red wines, common differences owned by unfiltered wine. It’s a jammy sucker, too. Big, ripe, red cherries with crushed blackberries and a pronounced herbal tea note in the background.
Even more exciting than the flavor is the price tag. It’s been a long time indeed since I’ve enjoyed a wine for less than $30 in a restaurant setting. Rumor has it that you can pick up a bottle at Whole Foods Market or Hawaii Liquor Superstore as well.
Most importantly, this lovely vegan wine pairs nicely with a wide range of food. Initially I was torn between a few menu options, but I finally ordered an entrée that proved to be a perfect match.
“I’ll have the 12-ounce prime rib of beef please. Rare, of course.”
For diehard fans of the vegan lifestyle, check out vegans.frommars.org/wine for an extensive list of vegan wines.
The Wandering Wino is a Certified Specialist of Wine & Spirits and Advanced Sommelier. Follow the hunt @TheWineCastle on Twitter.