There are many vinegars on the market today. Most are forgettable. Real wine vinegar--that product produced from the slow acetic fermentation of sound, low alcohol wine--has become an almost endangered species. But I am pleased to offer this particular vinegar TRADITIONAL METHOD RED WINE VINEGAR, the fruit of a project begun in 1977 by BRAD ALDERSON, the now retired general manager of Mondavi’s Woodbridge winery in Lodi. I have known Brad since his student days at UCDavis.
Despite common myth, vinegar is not spoiled wine. It is another wine product and it is better made if the wine is sound rather than spoiled. As my grandfather used to say: “It is harder to make good vinegar than to make good wine.” The acetic fermentation is essentially bacteriological and temperamental. This means you must know what you are doing to make good vinegar. Historically, it was the late Dino Barengo in Acampo, California, who made the best red wine vinegar in California. Brad’s TRADITIONAL METHOD VINEGAR, is the successor to Barengo’s production. Dino helped get Brad’s production off to a good start in 1977.
The “Traditional” in Traditional Method Vinegar is often called Orleans Method, coming from this famous city in the north of France responsible for the largest vinegar production in that country. What it entails is allowing wine to slowly acetify in casks with air holes drilled into the heads and kept at an even temperature to insure complete acetification. Then the vinegar is aged in what some would call a modified solera system, where whatever quantity is removed as finished product is replaced by a slightly younger product in the same amount. Since the original vinegar was started in 1977, some of this product is in all the casks. Since this vinegar has not been sterile filtered, it will throw a natural deposit. Just let it rest and decant if it bothers you.
Good, well aged vinegar is a real joy. It is not thick as is Aceto Balsamico, nor is it sweet. It should be crisp, very aromatic and refreshing to taste. TRADITIONAL METHOD is not reduced before bottling, but is at natural strength of 75 grain (7.5% acetic acid.) Thus you use less, but end up having more flavor. It is an impressive vinegar. I was impressed and know you will be also.