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Shel_B

Red Wine Vinegar: Which to buy?

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The shelves in my local markets are groaning under the weight of a variety of red wine vinegars. Which to buy?

Here's what I'm looking for: flavorful, not too acidic, possibly organic (but not critical), and not loaded up with preservatives and other junk. Any suggestions?

I used to get a great one made in Italy from the local Italian deli, but the new owner no longer carries it <sigh>


Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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Here's what Cooking Light had to say:

But we were surprised to discover that prices and ratings were not much related. Two of our favorites cost less than 30 cents per ounce, and the most expensive vinegar we tasted―almost $3 an ounce―placed near the bottom.

And the San Francisco Professional Food Society (whatever the hell that is):

My take-away from our red wine vinegar tasting? Sparrow Lane is the clear choice for leafy salads and other lightly dressed dishes in which the vinegar flavor would be obvious. The others vinegars, while quite tasty, might be best for marinades, cooked sauces and stews. If you like smooth deliciousness, Sparrow Lane is it. If you want bold robust tang, choose one of our top choices.

The Washington Post throws their two cents in:

The results surprised us — or, more specifically, we were slightly chagrined that our palates preferred the brand that sells the most and costs about the least.

Paula Wolfert, writing in Food & Wine, suggests that you make your own and it will be better than most you might buy:

As I write this, I have six earthenware crocks of red wine vinegar in various stages of evolution tucked away in the dark corners of my kitchen. "Why go to all that trouble?" my friends ask. "Aren't there plenty of good red wine vinegars on the market?" The answer is no. If there are any as good as the kind you can make yourself, I've yet to find them.

What brands are available in your store?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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We use Pompeian...but that is what my mother used.

I like... it for tomato salads/onion and our Italian Leaf Salad.

It is a 5% vinegar.......I actually like a bit of acidity...I think 5 % is about the standard?

http://www.pompeian.com/vinegars_page_red_wine.html


Edited by Paul Bacino (log)
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Its good to have Morels

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We use Pompeian...but that is what my mother used.

I like... it for tomato salads/onion and our Italian Leaf Salad.

It is a 5% vinegar.......I actually like a bit of acidity...I think 5 % is about the standard?

http://www.pompeian.com/vinegars_page_red_wine.html

It certainly performed well in any number of those taste tests.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I agree with Paula Wolfert, if you're so inclined, make your own vinegar.

The difference is remarkable.

Having said that, Eden Foods Raw & Unpasteurized Red Wine Vinegar (No additives or sulfating agents.) isn't bad and comes closer to homemade than most others I've tried.

~Martin


~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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I agree with Paula Wolfert, if you're so inclined, make your own vinegar.

The difference is remarkable.

Having said that, Eden Foods Raw & Unpasteurized Red Wine Vinegar (No additives or sulfating agents.) isn't bad and comes closer to homemade than most others I've tried.

~Martin

Maybe..I should try making some!! But left over red wine is hard to come by! :)


Its good to have Morels

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I use the Monari Federzoni brand for salad dressing, and I think it came from the supermarket.

I have the same problem with very little leftover red wine. But nevertheless I did try to make vinegar a few years ago. It developed the acetone off-taste described by Edward Behr in his big article on making vinegar in The Art Of Eating, as well as a rather unpleasant disc of mold on the top.

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[...] Eden Foods Raw & Unpasteurized Red Wine Vinegar (No additives or sulfating agents.) isn't bad and comes closer to homemade than most others I've tried.

~Martin

I like many of Eden's products, including their brown rice vinegar. I'll definitely try their red wine vinegar. Thanks for the tip!


 ... Shel


 

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We use Pompeian...but that is what my mother used.

I like... it for tomato salads/onion and our Italian Leaf Salad.

It is a 5% vinegar.......I actually like a bit of acidity...I think 5 % is about the standard?

http://www.pompeian.com/vinegars_page_red_wine.html

It certainly performed well in any number of those taste tests.

Tests like that are silly, especially when it comes to something like vinegar where the traditional method product hasn't been available for a long time and is just coming back on the market. People react to what they believe vinegar is supposed to taste like, which generally means garbage, so better things are inevitably ranked worse. Really dumb.

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My favorite red wine vinegar for years has been L'Estornell Grenache Vinegar. It's mentioned in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. This vinegar is available at Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl. In fact, I saw it at my local Whole Foods when I was shopping there today. More info here:
http://www.zabars.com/l-estornell-red-wine-garnacha-vinegar-8-8-fl-oz/A268003,default,pd.html

Another good brand of vinegars (and olive oil too) is the "O" brand. It's a local California brand, if that's important to you. They have cabernet, pinot noir, and zinfandel vinegars as well as variety of white wine vinegars. Also available at Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl.
http://www.ooliveoil.com/product_winevin.php?n=O%20cabernet%20vinegar

Another artisanal California vinegar is the Kimberley brand. I liked and used their sherry vinegar for a long time (now I use the "O" brand). I don't remember trying their cabernet vinegar, though. Anyway, here's their website:
http://www.kimberleywinevinegars.com/products/

Do you live anywhere near the Sonoma Market in the town of Sonoma? They have an exceptional selection of vinegars and olive oils, if you care to check them out.

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I love Forum brand. Not sure if it's available in your part of the world, but it's a great high quality option.


James.

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We use Pompeian...but that is what my mother used.

I like... it for tomato salads/onion and our Italian Leaf Salad.

It is a 5% vinegar.......I actually like a bit of acidity...I think 5 % is about the standard?

http://www.pompeian.com/vinegars_page_red_wine.html

Yeah, my favorite! DO NOT ever buy what they call their Balsemic; it's acrid, artificial and totally yuck!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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James - where are you finding the Forum brand available?

I've had no trouble in Australia. I haven't seen it in the US or Canada in the few years I've lived here, but I haven't looked either.

James.

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Eden Foods Raw & Unpasteurized Red Wine Vinegar (No additives or sulfating agents.) isn't bad and comes closer to homemade than most others I've tried.

I picked up a bottle of the Eden Foods this morning, and it's quite nice. Sparrow Lane, also mentioned above, was on the shelf near the Eden, and I almost bought it as well, but decided to wait until my next visit to the market (Berkeley Bowl) when I'll go with a list of the vinegars recommended here and pick up a few of the suggested choices. Thanks again to everyone who had suggestions.

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 ... Shel


 

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Do you live anywhere near the Sonoma Market in the town of Sonoma? They have an exceptional selection of vinegars and olive oils, if you care to check them out.

No, I don't, but down here in the Berkeley area there are lots of choices for vinegar (and olive oil). Thanks for your suggestions. I'd like to try the L'Estornell Red Wine Garnacha Vinegar.


 ... Shel


 

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Do you live anywhere near the Sonoma Market in the town of Sonoma? They have an exceptional selection of vinegars and olive oils, if you care to check them out.

No, I don't, but down here in the Berkeley area there are lots of choices for vinegar (and olive oil). Thanks for your suggestions. I'd like to try the L'Estornell Red Wine Garnacha Vinegar.

I saw the L'Estornell Garnacha Vinegar at Whole Foods in Berkeley a couple days ago. I didn't see it at Berkeley Bowl, though. Awhile ago I was talking to the buyer at Berkeley Bowl, and he told me he had trouble keeping it in stock--maybe that's why.

I didn't mean to send you up to Sonoma for vinegar! For some reason I thought you were living in the North Bay, and that it might be easier for you to shop there. Of course, if you are ever in the town of Sonoma, that's a great market to browse--for wine, vinegar, oils, meat...

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Today I found a rather nice red wine vinegar made by the Bertolino Olive Oil Company in Santa Rosa, CA. The vinegar is by the same name - Bertolino. Unfortunately, they don't have a web site, so I can't give you much info other than to say the vinegar is not very acidic, and has a nice depth of flavor. The price was right at about $4.00 for 16oz or so. Their olive oil won a Gold Medal at the recent State Fair competition. Bertolino Olive Oil, 3015 Santa Margarita Court, CA 95405, phone 707-321-8055. I've got to try the olive oil!


 ... Shel


 

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