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RAISE A GLASS.

Byline: WITH JANE CLARE

I DON'T have any "special dietary requirements" when it comes to food and drink but I know many of you do. When the Co-op told me they were extending their veganfriendly range of wines I thought "ooooh" shame on me, I could be helping you with this one, especially as Veganuary is underway this month.

When is a wine vegan-friendly? Animal products might be used in the winemaking process at the fining stages - that's when the impurities are removed from the wines to create a clear liquid.

These fining agents can include egg white, isinglass (which comes from fish) and charcoal which could be made from animal bones. They are added to the wine and the "cloudy bits" cling to them and drift downwards leaving the wine clear. A wine is vegan-friendly when the fining process is done using a non-animal product, such as pea protein.

The alcohol education charity Drinkaware has some vegan guidelines on its website drinkaware.co.uk and from there I followed a link to barnivore.com which is a really useful communitycreated database of alcoholic drinks.

Just search for a drink or a retailer to discover veganfriendly options. I tapped away looking for drinks from Tesco, Asda, Aldi, Marks & Spencer and so on; it was very useful.

Back to the Co-op and eight new wines are to be launched from February 12, including Gran Familia Rioja Tino (PS5.99).

Its vegan wines also include Co-op Irresistible Viognier Pays d'Oc (PS7.49, 13.5% abv) which I shared with a friend. It has honeyed notes together with dried apples, peach and citrus and a shake of spice which adds an interesting dimension. It isn't overly acidic and has a touch of creaminess.

Marks & Spencer has more than 420 vegan-friendly wines, which is over half its range. There's a lovely red, Terres de Moraines Madiran 2013 (PS9.50, 14.5% abv) which is full-bodied, laden with red berries and spice, and rich and silky with soft tannins.

If sparkling wine is your thing then Aldi's delightful Organic Prosecco (PS7.99, 11.5% abv) pops a fruit flurry of pears and apples, together with gentle aromas of acacia flowers. | Learn more about veganism at vegansociety.com | Also in my glass here's my final gin selection for Ginuary. I love the stunning scenery of Snowdonia so my interest was piqued when I heard that a new distillery had opened at a former slate works in Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd and its first gins are now on sale; Rhubarb & Ginger Gin and Orange Marmalade Gin (both RRP PS24, from Amazon, masterofmalt.com, 42.3% abv).

The rhubarb and ginger gin is flecked with cardamom and the rhubarb is subtle but moreish followed on its heels by the sweet spice of ginger.

As for the marmalade? Fresh oranges, flowers, and a crunch of juniper shine through.

Aber Falls has also created three gin liqueurs, Violet Liqueur, Salted Toffee Liqueur and Chocolate & Coffee Liqueur (RRP PS20, from the same stockists).

| Jane is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Find her on social media and online as One Foot in the Grapes.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 27, 2018
Words:523
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