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Gran Reserve Sherry Vinegar from Spain Now Available at The Olive Tap

Posted by Jennifer Thornton on

Venture in to any festival in Southern Spain and the beverage found everywhere will be Sherry Wine: Sherry punches, cocktails, etc. This complex and aromatic wine is produced in the Jerez triangle in the Southeastern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, in the region of Cadiz, and is used to make the gastronomically rich Sherry Vinegar. This signature Spanish culinary staple has unfortunately been lost in translation to America and most Americans tend to look for substitutions because of exposure to poor quality American made sherries and, worse yet, cooking sherry. Cooking sherry is sodium-laced preservative sherry wine, which should NOT be confused with Sherry Vinegar, and is to be clearly avoided.

Sherry Vinegar is the deeply complex and brightly acidic second fermentation of Sherry Wine in which the acetobacter, or ‘mother’, converts the alcohol into acetic acid. It is aged according to the Solera method, the same method used to age Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, and is why it can be described as ‘the Spanish Balsamic Vinegar’ to those who are discovering it for the first time. Using the ‘Criaderas and Solera’ method, illustrated in the photo below, the vinegar is aged in 500 liter oak casks. As the vinegar reduces over time, the oldest casks are then filled with vinegar from the row above and so on and so on. This process allows for an aromatically complex vinegar to develop, 80 distinct aromas to be exact, including almond, caramel, and much more.

We are pleased to offer PDO Capirete 20 Vinagre de Jerez and PDO Gran Capirete 50 Vinagre de Jerez, Aged Sherry Vinegar, from Spanish producer Jose Paez Lobato now available online and in our Long Grove and Manitou Springs locations.

There are 9 Designations of Protected Origins (PDO) in what is known as the Jerez triangle in the region of Cadiz. These areas are made up of gently rolling hills and the soil is made up of rich white limestone. There are three white grape varieties that are used to produce Sherry Vinegar: Pedro Ximénez, Palomino, and Moscatel. 

The grapes are harvested in September and the Pedro Ximénez variety is spread out over straw mats to allow the water to evaporate and turn the grapes into raisins. The Palomino grape produces a dry sherry and makes up now 95% of all sherry production as the Palomino vines do exceedingly well in the rich limestone soils. Our grand reserve sherry vinegars are both produced with the ideal Palomino Fino grapes.

The Capirete 20 year Sherry Vinegar we are offering is an intense dark mahogany color with shiny amber-like highlights and notes of vanilla, dried fruits, and wood soaked wine. The Gran Capirete 50 year Sherry Vinegar is an intense mahogany color with a silky texture with an unusually deep acidic aroma. It is dry and well-balanced with hints of dried fruits and spices. They both work exceedingly well in all culinary preparations: from dressings and cold sauces, meats, fish, etc. While the most common use is in cold gazpacho-type soups, such as this classic white gazpacho recipe, sherry vinegar complements a wide variety of cuisines and dishes. It pairs especially well with Asian cuisine and the soy and ginger flavors, with hearty stews, and with dishes featuring bacon or cooked in lard. Pair it with our PDO Estepa Spanish Gold 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a perfect blend made in the Southern Spanish sun!