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Is Wine Suitable For Pescatarians?

Is Wine Suitable For Pescatarians

Whether it’s a glass or two with a meal or a bottle drunk between friends at the weekend, wine is a pleasure enjoyed by billions around the world. While it is seen by many to be just alcoholic grape juice it may come as surprising that the vast majority of wine is, in fact, not suitable for pescatarians and certainly not for vegetarians and vegans.

Read on to learn more about the pescatarian diet, whether wine is suitable for pescatarians, and the best pescatarian food pairings with wine.

 

Exclusive ThinK Wine Range 

 

What is Pescatarianism?

Pescatarians is the practice of sustaining a majority vegetarian diet with the selective inclusion of seafood in the diet. White wine can be an ideal pairing for fish dishes; delicate white fishes lend themselves to a lighter wine, more of a Pinot Grigio, whereas a meatier fillet such as tuna requires the robust tones of a Chardonnay.

For the real connoisseur, even more refinements can be made to one’s selection with the choice consideration of both the method of preparation and cooking and the other ingredients on the plate. For instance, fish dishes in creamy sauces call for a higher acidity wine capable of cleansing the palate periodically throughout the course.

Finally, for those who prefer sparkling wine, a sparkling rose pairs beautifully with smoked salmon, the fattiness and texture of the fish providing an exquisite contrast to the texture of the bubbles in the wine. A standard Prosecco lends itself to vegetarian foods, fish, cheeses and desserts – now that’s versatile.

Though seen as perhaps controversial in the past, red wine and even rosés are increasingly being seen and accepted as an ideal pairing for fish dishes depending on how they are prepared and seasoned. A Pinot Noir is a highly pleasing counterpart for seared tuna and a dry rosé is equally so for a plethora of salmon dishes.

During the production process of most wine, however, various agents are used and some of these are derived from animal products. The agents used in wine production are known as fining agents and include egg whites, gelatine, casein, isinglass and carbon. Regrettably, it is due to these agents that many wines cannot always be classed as properly pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan; despite the fact the finished bottle retains no fining agents and, therefore, no animal products. So, why should those who have made certain dietary choices, such as pescatarianism, have to miss out?

This poses a curious dichotomy for those motivated to pescatarianism for ethical or health reasons. The former has to be more selective in their choice of tipple, whereas the latter can indulge more freely in the knowledge they won’t be consuming any fining agents.

 

The Fining Process

Without going into irrelevant and possibly dull detail, fining is the process used to remove sediment, and clarify and stabilise wine. The aforementioned fining agents are added to the wine to remove residual compounds left over after the removal of insoluble pulp produced during wine production. The pulp and its resultant deposited proteins and sulphides affect the flavour and quality of the wine and must be removed before bottling. The chosen fining agent, or blend of fining agents, reacts with the wine electrostatically, ionically, enzymatically or adsorbent and the undesirable compounds are removed.

Looking more closely at the specific fining agents used in the production process of each wine, was for many years, therefore, the only way to know what is suitable for each individual's dietary requirements. Caseins, which are derived from milk, and egg whites are both suitable for pescatarians (and vegetarians but unfortunately not vegans). Isinglass is a fish-derived product and so wines produced with only this fining agent are pescatarian safe (but not vegetarian or vegan). And wine produced using animal gelatine fining agents are not safe for pescatarians, vegetarians or vegans. Less frequently carbon or clay-based agents are used which are suitable for all three dietary parties named above.

With the only way to safely select a bottle that fits your dietary requirement being the knowledge of what specific agents are used, it comes as a crushing blow to learn that currently in the UK there is no legal requirement for producers to state anywhere on the bottle or in their media estate what agents they use. Making the wine market, already a confusing and beguiling landscape to navigate with its endless types and varieties, even more tricky for those subscribing to pescatarianism who actively want to seek out isinglass or carbon fined wines.

There are unrefined wines available on the market today which retain a number of natural textures and flavours that are lost during the fining process but are, sadly, generally cloudy and have some sediment in the bottle that takes a while to settle. The jury is out on unrefined wine though, due to a split in consensus, with some people preferring its more natural offering and some wine-lovers destaining its cloudy sediments. A further drawback to this approach is the addition of years to the winemaking process as the vintner waits for the sediment to settle sufficiently, via gravity.

 

The Solution?

The answer, however, is here and luckily, it's simpler than you might expect. Here at ThinK, we are proud to announce that our entire range of Prosecco and Pinot Grigio sparkling Rosés are entirely pescatarian (and vegetarian and vegan) friendly owing to the use of the alternative fining sustainably sourced, organic pea protein. Not only are all our wines 100% vegan but also reduced sugar, reduced-calorie, low-sulphite, organic and just as delicious with no compromise on taste.

ThinK wines are intelligently created to harness the perfect blend of flavours to ensure a palatable experience with a fresh, revitalising finish. Made with only the finest Treviso Pinot Grigio and Glera grapes from the heart of North-Eastern Italy ThinK wines have a wealth of possible pairings for even the most diverse palate. The more intense Glera grape Prosecco has the ability to be enjoyed by pescatarians with fried fish dishes, tempura vegetables and tofu and by non-pescatarian, vegetarian or vegans with fine meat dishes.

With the more delicate Pinot Grigio Sparkling Roses lending themselves to fish, vegetable and tofu dishes particularly with light sauces. And lets face it, at just 62kcal per 100ml, owing to its alcohol content of just 11%ABV (alcohol by volume), why not pair a glass with dessert as well – its only 124kcal per bottle (200ml). Our selection of 6x200ml bottles gives enthusiasts the chance to sample a few pairings per type and be better informed for their next dinner party order.

To find out more on the alcohol content in vegan Prosecco, then just click here.

Alternatively, next time you fancy branching out ask pescatarian friends, colleagues and social media groups for recommendations of the best pescatarian wines and feel free to drop ThinK a mention next time you’re asked. Together we can make the backdrop of pescatarian wines are little more friendly and approachable going forward. Raise a drink to ThinK.

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