Exploring the world of plant-based wine.
On a mild autumn night, 30 conscious connoisseurs gathered for an intimate evening, exploring the world of plant-based wine.
The wines served on the night were carefully selected by Matt Haussrer (from Dahl and Nash) not only for their delectable taste, but for their sustainable and vegan properties. Usually, wine is clarified with animal-derived fining agents, which helps to stabilise, as well as filtering out any sediment – giving the wine clarity and luminosity. These fining agents can be anything from egg whites, to casein, or even fish bladder. The wines served on the evening avoided the use of these and other additives which created a whole new flavour experience – quite different to what any of the attendees expected.
The wineries – Folium (Marlborough), Easthope Family Winegrowers (Hawkes Bay) and Aurum Wines (Central Otago) – are all committed to sustainable, clean practices. Irrigation is kept to a minimum; effective permaculture practices ensure the best use of the natural resources and additives and animal derivatives are omitted where ever possible. Even the soil is sans-animal, instead fertilised with whatever’s not used for the wines.
For each plant-based wine there was a plant-based food pairing, thoughtfully matched and prepared by KIND’s head Chef James. He selected a number of offerings from the KIND dinner menu, tweaking them to compliment the tasting notes provided.
The first pairing of the night was the Easthope Family’s Two Terraces’ 2018 Chenin Blanc, matched with our ever-popular Jackfruit Tostadas. As the diners dined, Haussrer delved into the tasting notes, and shared insights about the wine’s origins, telling stories around its creation and the vineyard in which it came.
This was done for all of the six courses, with Cathie sharing insight on the ingredients and flavours of the matching cuisine.
One of the stand out combinations of the night was the subtly sharp Aurum 2017 Amber Pinot Gris, paired with a delightfully creamy Roast Capsicum and Pea risotto.
This was in part due to the visual component. The grapes used for the Pinot Gris resulted in a vibrant orange liquor – matching the hue of the roasted capsicum in the risotto, earning the pair a glowing review.
Each of the wines brought a certain level of surprise. The lack of additives and the overall process resulted in unexpected flavours, and for the guests, unexpected preferences. The organic processes and natural fermentation resulted in earthy flavours that gave a true feel of where the wine had come from. Often wine is more reflective of the winemaker, due to the techniques and additives used to manipulate the wine’s qualities.
Overall the sold-out evening was an absolute hit. Matt Haussrer, full of charisma, proved to be the perfect host. Of all the guests, only a handful were committed vegans – which shows that there is a genuine curiosity in others for conscious consumption, eating in a way that has less effect on the earth. For the many that missed out this time, there will be more opportunities to attend one of these intimate evenings – plans for the winter series are underway.