Sherry vinegar, a type of wine, has been produced since the 16th century in southwestern Spain, in the region of Cadiz, in the province of Andalusia, in the so-called “sherry triangle”, whose tops are the cities of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria ( in this region they make sherry and brandy sherry).
Raw materials for its production are the grape varieties Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Moskatel.
The crop is harvested in September and immediately sent under a press, a special fungus is added to the resulting juice, which ensures “sherry fermentation”. The result is a semi-finished product — the so-called «young sherry» (alcohol level 10-13%).
From it can turn out and this seasoned sherry, and vinegar.
In order for experts to recognize it as suitable for the production of vinegar, it must have a fairly high taste. (To be fair, it should be noted that the rules “out of good wine gives birth to good vinegar” were followed relatively recently, from the 19th century. Prior to this, vinegar was made from that wine that was not suitable for further vinification or distillation.)
The production process itself sherry vinegar includes two stages.
At first, special bacteria are added to the young sherry, which convert alcohol and oxygen into acetic acid and water.
Then the finished vinegar is poured into huge (volume — 500 liters) oak barrels, in which sherry was kept before.
The barrels are stacked one on top of the other, and the process of aging begins.
As a result, vinegar acquires the finest shades of taste and smell.
Of particular interest is the method of aging, typical of the “sherry triangle” — this is how sherry, brandy and vinegar are kept here.
This method is called “solera and cryadera”. Solera is a unique system of stacking barrels (very similar to woodpile).
Creadera is each layer of barrels in this system. The essence of this method is that in each soler there are barrels of vinegar from grapes harvested on the same piece of land, but in different years.
At the base — the oldest vinegar, in the upper layer — the youngest.
The minimum number of cryaderes is three, but, as a rule, there are many more.
In the process of aging, vinegar from the youngest criader is added to the one under it, and so on.
Thus, the quality of vinegar in Solera gradually leveled off, no matter how good the grape harvest was in a given year.
Vinegar is poured into bottles only from the oldest cryadera, while leaving at least two thirds of the volume of liquid in each barrel.
Grape Vinegar «palomino«Depending on the period of exposure is named» Vinagre de Jerez «(excerpt — from six months to two years) and» Vinagre de Jerez Reserva «(excerpt — from two to 30, 50 and even 75 years).
At sherry vinegar from grapesPedro Jimenez“Pretty sweet taste.
On its label, make sure to mark “al Pedro Ximenez” or “al PX”.
From grapesmuscatel»Vinegar is made very rarely.
Therefore, it occurs infrequently and practically does not leave the limits of Spain.
Since March 2000, sherry vinegar has been in the list of products controlled by origin.
Besides him, in the world there are only two types of vinegar, the production of which is under the same control: this is the Spanish wine «Condado de Huelva» and the Italian «Aceto Balzamico Tradizionale».