Banyuls Vinegar - L' Abbe Rous
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Unit of Measure: EACH
500 ml - France
In the southwest of France, in a small Mediterranean seaside town called Banyuls-sur-Mer, some of the finest wines are produced. So, it's no wonder that the grapes grown on the region's ancient vines also yield one of the world's finest vinegar: Le Vinaigre de Banyuls. Made from the naturally sweet wine of the region, the grape base for this very small production of "vin doux natural" (no sugar added) is 50% Grenache noir, 40% Grenache gris and 10% Carignane.
The wine begins its first year of aging in huge oak "foudres" (barrels) stored in cool cellars. It is then transferred to smaller 60-liter oak barrels and stored outside, where it will spend the next four years. There, exposure to the elements - the hot sun of summer and the cold winds of winter in the Pyrenees - accelerates the aging process. The progress and quality of the fledgling vinegar is constantly monitored by the enoligist. During its fifth year, the new vinegar gets a jump start from an older brother - a 20% solution of Vieux Vinaigre de Banyuls - which inoculates the Banyuls wine and turns it into full-fledged vinegar. An additional 6 months of aging in cool cellars is still required before it is filtered and bottled under the Le Vinaigre de Banyuls label.
To those who know its qualities - aromas of walnut, spice, vanilla, and licorice - Vinaigre de Banyuls is a rival to both balsamico and sherry vinegar. Its distinct nut-like qualities make it the perfect companion for vinaigrettes made with hazelnut or walnut oils, or high quality all-purpose Provençal oil. Try it for deglazing sautéed duck or mushrooms.