Three great wine-based vinegars from regions like Jeréz, Champagne, and Kalamata.
By J.M. Towers
Fine vinegar is an elegant and unique condiment that should always be present on our table. The word vinegar is derived from the French vin (wine) and aigre (sour), and results from the transformation of the wine’s alcohol into acetic acid, obtained by the fermentation of acetic bacteria. To enhance its flavor, you can add salt and spices such as thyme, rosemary or chilies.
Vinegar has been used since time immemorial to preserve food as it was thought to have healing and energetic qualities. It was also commonly used by medieval physicians as an antiseptic.
Today, vinegar is indispensable in the kitchen thanks to the multiple uses and applications in salad dressings, vinaigrettes, vegetables, and to marinate meats, among many options. And although no one doubts that some of the best vinegar in the world comes from Modena, there is superb wine vinegar produced in the Spanish town of Jeréz, in the French region of Champagne or the Greek Kalamata.
These high-quality vinegars are ideal for making homemade mustard, cold sauces, vinaigrettes, marinades, brines and all kinds of preserves.
These are three types of vinegar that stand out for their excellent high quality:
1730 Vinagre de Jerez Reserva
The renowned winery Bodegas Alvaro Domecq not only produces great wines in the Designation of Origin Jeréz but also highly valued vinegars such as the 1730 Vinagre de Jerez Reserva, a sherry vinegar with an attractive shiny look obtained by its two years of aging in oak barrels. Dark brown with amber highlights, it stands out for its complex aromas of wild fruits and harmonious flavors that are soft on the palate and perfect to season dishes featuring meat, fish and seafood salads.
Vinaigre de Reims Clovis
The famous Champagne region also produces vinegar. One of the best comes from the maison Clovis, which has been producing champagne vinegar since 1797. Its Reims vinegar is exceptionally subtle, delicate and balsamic. It has been aged for six years in French oak barrels and shows a pale amber color, as well as exceptional flavors and unique fragrances with wood notes and hints of almonds and white wine. It is highly appreciated by the great French chefs, who use it in a variety of dishes.
Melina's Kalamata Premium Quality Vinegar
Greece is another Mediterranean country that produces great vinegar, including the outstanding products from Melina. It is made from grapes grown in the region of Messinia, in Kalamata, in the Peloponnese. The grapes are harvested by hand and immediately dried in the sun. This premium vinegar is aged for at least ten years in oak barrels, and its lively taste is entirely natural without additives, artificial colors or preservatives. It has a unique sweet and bitter flavor that enhances nearly any food and combines perfectly with vinaigrettes, bruschetta, lamb chops, cheese and roasted vegetables. ■
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