Yvonne Lorkin Wine Column for Week beginning Saturday 9th Sept 2017 – Vegan & Vege-friendly Vino

Vegan & Vege-friendly Vino

In recent years there’s been an increase of requests from my readers for wines that fit the bill for vegan and vegetarian vino fans. Dan Barker, owner and winemaker at Moana Park wines in Puketapu is one of those championing that segment. “When I took over the winery in 2008, our goal was and still is, to produce wines showing purity of fruit, great balance and great value for money” he says. “With an increasing demand from consumers for more honest, natural wines with less additives, our focus embraces sustainable winery and vineyard practices, plus we’re proud to be New Zealand’s only certified commercial winery that’s completely animal-product free”. Dan and his team guarantee they don’t use any fish, egg, gelatine or dairy products in their winemaking. Wine is made from grapes, yet during its processing it’s often filtered through substances called ‘fining agents’ to remove cloudiness, proteins and other particles. Some commonly used fining agents are also animal-derived, however vegetarian and vegan-friendly wines use alternatives such as carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, plant casein, silica gel and vegetable plaques. Moana Park also employ Hawke’s Bay’s only vacuum press. This allows the grapes to be pressed very gently, without allowing any oxygen ingress. “It also means we don’t need to add preservatives like sulphur to reverse oxygen degeneration in the wine or to strip out any harsh flavours” explains Dan. “The wines then show their full fruit characters and still retain freshness and stability without the need for fining. Consumers can taste the grapes themselves and the conditions in which they were grown, whereas conventional wines can often taste of the same manufactured flavours with no variation between vintages” he adds. Allowing mother nature to have pretty much complete control over the winemaking doesn’t make for an easy time. “But we reckon the sacrifices are worth it when you get to taste the benefits” says Dan. For customers that’ve been avoiding wine because of side effects they claim to suffer, minimising chemical intervention has proved to be a winning formula for Moana Park. “They’re able to enjoy our wines and next day wake up without a headache ruining their Saturday, Sunday or Monday morning.” If you want to test Dan’s theory, these two new Moana Park releases are ready and waiting…
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Moana Park SVR Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 $45 (4 stars)
This is one of those pinot’s which oozes savoury, meaty, earthy aromas, yet as soon as it’s sipped, a tsunami of spice tends to drown the tastebuds in the nicest way of course. This is the first time I’ve tasted a Central Otago wine made by this vegan & vegetarian-friendly producer, and it’s a nicely built wine indeed. SVR stands for ‘single vineyard reserve’ in case you were wondering.
www.moanapark.co.nz

Moana Park SVR Gimblett Road Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015 $45 (4 stars)
If you’re a fan of violets with vavoom and buckets of black pepper, then it’s all here in this wine. Newly released, this syrah from New Zealand’s most famous red wine soils, is incredibly youthful and spicy, with a seam of sarsaparilla and soy sneaking through it also. The tannins have good chew and add layers of cheeksucking texture.
www.moanapark.co.nz

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Montana Winemakers Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $16.99 (3.5 stars)
Sick of sauvignon that’s all sweet passionfruit, armpit sweat and OTT with the capsicum and cats pee? Fret no longer, this puppy has a lift of white peach, lemongrass, basil and limey loveliness alongside a vein of quartzy minerality in the mouth. It’s lean, clean, tidy and darn tasty.
Available in supermarkets.

Homer Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 $21.50 (3.5 stars)
Ultra-savoury, almost marmitey and meaty, this certified organic marlborough pinot noir has been shepherded into the bottle by winemaker Rebecca Salmond. Strong, muscular tannins give cheek-suckingly complex texture and add oomph to the shedload of spices already present. There’s a lot going on in this wine so make sure you’ve got some serious protein handy to kickstart those saliva glands.
www.finewine.co.nz

Opawa Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 $27 (4 stars)
This wine has those glorious, mysterious hedgerow and forest-floor type flavours that send me into a little swoon and yet, the wallet remains calm and happy. Opawa means ‘smoky river’ in Maori, and the vineyard is located in what was the riverbed of the old Opawa River. It’s crafted by Brett Birmingham and the talented team at Nautilus wines, who have built buckets of vibrant red cherry and berry characters into the palate and retained lipsmacking acidity and a long, feisty finish.
www.opawawine.com

 

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