La Guinelle Banyuls Vinegar - 500ml
This fantastic vinegar is hand-made by Nathalie Lefort and Michel Giurt from sweet, heady Banyuls wine. All told, this is a vinegar that is five years in the making. It takes four years to make the Banyuls wine, which is allowed to mature in barrels exposed to the open air. Once the wine is ready, the vinegar production begins with combining the wine with the banyuls mother and again stored in open top barrels of oak. After more than 8 months, but before the alcohol is entirely transformed into acetic acid, the vinegar is removed and bottled, unfiltered. This natural process stands in stark contrast to the more common industrial methods which move wine to vinegar in all of 15 days which results in lots of acidity and very little depth of flavor.
The natural process that Nathalie uses makes it possible to produce a vinegar with soft and fruity flavors in which the rate of acidity does not exceed 6.5%.
Drizzle over a frisée salad or deglaze the pan after searing some sea scallops.
|Country of Origin||France|
|Vinegar Type||Red Wine Vinegar|
Vinegar Use and Care
Caring for Your Vinegar
What is vinegar?
Vinegar from the French Vin (wine) Aigre (sour), as with many delicious food products comes to us by way of gradual chemical changes resulting from exposure to natural elements such as time, bacteria and oxygen. Yet you'd be mistaken to consider the process of making fine vinegar as simply letting some wine sit out on your counter for a month or two.
Does vinegar go bad?
Caring for your vinegar is pretty simple but there are a few things worth noting. As with many products, the texture, flavor and aromatics of vinegar will change with extensive exposure to heat and light. While it will not technically "go bad" we find that well-stored vinegars maintain the flavors we expect much better than those that might be kept near a hot stove for several months.
Is vinegar sediment ok?
Some vinegars will have a bit of sediment at the bottom of their bottle. This will be the case for unfiltered vinegars and also can happen with vinegars that have been in storage for a long period. This sediment is not harmful and the vinegar will still be good to the last drop.
How is vinegar made?
The most ancient method of vinegar production is today called the continuous method, the surface method, or the more well-known, Orléans process - named after the French city of Orléans which was the center of French vinegar production in the 16th century.
This process is difficult to manage and maintain consistency and it takes a lot of time from raw materials to finished product. We work with a vibrant community of artisan producers committed to producing exceptional vinegars using this more time consuming and labor intensive method.
Most vinegar you'll find in supermarkets is produced using the modern innovation of 'submerged acidification' using industrial acetators to produce vinegar in a matter of hours. These vinegars are functional and inexpensive, but they lack any aromatic complexity and offer limited gastronomic value as compared to the more traditional vinegars.
How do I use vinegar?
Using your vinegar is easy... you likely have your favorite recipes, but here are a few ideas we love:
- A splash of vinegar in sparkling water for a refreshingly vibrant spritz
- A drizzle of balsamic over sliced fresh figs, a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano or a bowl of vanilla ice cream
- Quick pickling of vegetables by cooking a solution of vinegar, water, sugar and spices - cool and pour over the cut vegetables and set in fridge for a day
- Add a dash to finish your pasta sauce (balsamic) or your gazpacho (sherry vinegar) for an added dimension of brightness
Fantastic vinegar; well worth the price
If I had just stumbled across this, I would balk at the relatively expensive price for a 500ml bottle of vinegar. Read about how it is made and the price seems quite reasonable. It is an extremely complex vinegar that retains much of the character of the wine from which it is made. We received a bottle of this as a gift while visiting France. When we used that bottle, I began looking for a replacement. I was delighted to see that Formaggio Kitchen has it. Indulge yourself but be warned. You'll need some of this in your kitchen forever.