Art and design






Life and style








US news

World news

Vegan wines for the new year | David Williams

vegan wines
Clean start: three affordable vegan wines for you to sample

Waitrose Côtes du Rhône Villages, France 2015 (£6.99) The number of vegans in the UK is now at half a million and counting, with many more – your correspondent included – dabbling with no meat-or-dairy life in a flexitarian way for at least part of the week. For newcomers to this lifestyle it can come as a surprise to learn that you have to be careful with your wine: many producers use animal products, such as milk protein, fish bladder, gelatin and egg whites to take out haze-causing particles. Fortunately, most retailers will be able to tell you which of their bottles avoid these so-called fining agents, and some will go out of their way to ensure they have plenty of vegan wines on their books. Waitrose’s website, for example, lists 275 vegan bottles, this good value, spicy, brambly Rhônered among them.

Nicosia Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy 2015 (£11, Marks & Spencer) There’s a chicken and egg (or, if you prefer, seed and plant) question about the recent growth (up by some 350% according to a recent report by the Vegan Society) of veganism: has the improvement in vegan food brought more people to veganism, or has the prevalence of veganism led to an improvement in vegan food? I’m guessing the latter, but either way the options available ingredients and the fertile ideas of creative chefs – have made vegan food an aesthetic rather than an ascetic choice, with the pleasure only enhanced by original wine matches. My own vegan meals, especially at this time of year, draw deeply on the mushroom as provider of umami savouriness, with the fungus’s flavour and texture well matched by M&S’s sweet-sour-savoury Sicilian red.

Morrisons The Best Grüner Veltliner, Niederösterreich, Austria 2015 (£8) My favourite vegan cookbooks – such as the American blogger Laura Wright’s The First Mess Cookbook, which has greatly enlivened my kitchen since a friend gave it to me for Christmas – feature recipes that cover all kinds of cravings, from comforting stews and curries to soups and puddings. But what vegan cookery does best is to draw attention to the beauty of fresh, often raw vegetables and herbs in salads full of zing and snap. One style that is particularly well suited to this kind of green energy is Austria’s grüner veltliner, a white grape that often yields wines with a celery-esque character, plus, in Morrisons’ clear, crisp vegan-friendly example, juicy apples and pears.

Follow David on Twitter @Daveydaibach

This article titled "Vegan wines for the new year" was written by David Williams, for The Observer on Sunday 14 January 2018 06.00am

Life and style

Anna Jones’s kale recipes

I am in a green phase, and drawn like a moth to sea-green velvet cushions and dresses, while the… Read more

A cold nose shows you’re stressed – what else does?

Touch your nose. If it is cold, you may need to calm down. Science, by using thermal imaging… Read more

‘​I’d have gone back to him’: why women’s refuges can’t afford more cuts

Fifteen years ago, when Lynn fled her abusive partner with her six-month-old baby, she was housed… Read more

How to drink from a water fountain – without catching something

Wonderful news! Water fountains are coming back. In an attempt to tackle plastic waste, the old… Read more

Yes, Jacinda Ardern can combine work with a baby – but it’s not for every woman | Chitra Ramaswamy

The reaction to New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s pregnancy in office is two-pronged.… Read more

How can I be allergic to shiitakes, but fine with other mushrooms? | Notes and queries

A few years ago I discovered that I’m extremely allergic to shiitake mushrooms (don’t ask) but I… Read more

Tamal Ray's recipe for honey and almond brittle biscuits

The act of caramelising sugar, with its blowtorches and crystallisation points, can seem… Read more

Why has no one invented a clothing material that repels pet hair? | Notes and queries

Why have scientists/innovators still not created a clothing material that does not attract… Read more

Rachel Roddy’s winter tomato sauce recipe

For several years now, I have used an empty tomato tin as a pen holder on my desk. Even though it… Read more

Paul Bocuse obituary

For many people around the world, Paul Bocuse, who has died aged 91, was the incarnation of French… Read more