As with their food, wine drinkers in Ireland are becoming more aware of making choices that minimise their impact on the environment. We are seeing a big increase in demand for organic, vegan, low sulphur etc wines. It can be intimidating for customers to understand all these terms and see why they apply to wines. For example, if wines are made from grapes why are they not all vegan?
To answer some of our loyal customers' most frequent questions we have released our Wine Certification Guide. These handy pocket-sized guides are free to pick up in your local O'Briens store and address some of the most confusing terminology used in wine.
Organic foods are becoming increasingly popular, as people worry about how their food choices impact the environment in which it is grown.
Eschewing the use of pesticides and herbicides this certified organic Nerello Mascalese from Sicily is vibrant ruby in colour. The aroma is fine and complex, reminiscent of red berry fruits, with a touch of white pepper spice. On the palate, the elegance of the volcanic terroir shines through. The tannins are silky-smooth and balanced with a slate mineral character.
Biodynamics is a step beyond organics that relies on the movement of stellar bodies to determine vineyard and winery practices.
Lunaria are a biodynamic and organic certified cooperative in the mountainous Abruzzo region of east Italy. Made from organic Montepulciano grapes and left to ferment naturally using wild yeasts, it has a deep ruby red colour with a pronounced nose of black cherries and a toasty note from the oak ageing. The palate is fairly full-bodied with concentrated black fruit notes combined with cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla before a long, fruity finish.
Our new Vola Volé Trebbiano d'Abruzzo is 100% organic and certified by Biodiversity Friend, a not-for-profit organisation that encourages bee and plant diversity in agriculture. The winery goes one step further and cultivates yeast from local flower pollen to ferment this wine! For more information on this interesting range of wines the winery have a handy App that tells you the story behind each bottle's label.
One of the questions I am most frequently asked is why a product made from fruit would not be vegan. Many of the clarification and filter agents used in winemaking are derived from animal products- egg whites being very common. This ensures the wine you buy is clear and without excessive sediment. To be a Vegan or Vegetarian wine, only certain products can be used.
As well as being organic, the Cortese Catarratto Lucido is vegan. Straw-coloured with flecks of green, the characterful bouquet is a little spicy and reminiscent of jasmine, aromatic herbs and nutmeg, with delicate touches of white peach. On the palate, there is a strong mineral back bone, perfectly balanced with lively acidity. The finish is long and complex with delicious almond flavours.
Drop in to your local O'Briens store where a staff member will happily give you your free copy of the Wine Certification Guide.