Sherry vinegar is a Spanish treasure - a slow aged vinegar with far more complexity than common wine vinegars due to its special cask aging process. “Gran Reserva” sherry vinegar is the highest grade produced, and must be aged in oak casks for a minimum of ten years before sale.
Arvum sherry vinegar was a SOFI Silver Finalist in 2012.
Sherry wine produced from locally grown Palomino Fino grapes from the sherry region is slow fermented through the Solara system. Acetic bacteria convert the alcohol in the sherry wine into acetic acid, which gives the vinegar its bite.
The Solera & Criadera method involves rows of 500-liter oak casks layered into a pyramid, with the youngest vinegar at the top and the oldest vinegar at the bottom. The bottom row is referred to as the Solera, with the higher rows referred to as the Criaderas. As the vinegar ages it is shifted down the rows by drawing portions of it out of the higher barrels and blending it with older vinegar in the lower barrels. Once vinegar has finished aging in the Solera layer, it is drawn off for bottling. However, only one third of the contents of the Solera barrels is ever removed at a time, ensuring plenty of the oldest vinegar remains there to “teach” the younger vinegar when it’s moved down to refill the barrel.
This means that while “Gran Reserva” vinegar must have been aged for a minimum of ten years, some of its contents can be far older. Arvum’s solera is over forty years old.
Over time, oxygen passing through the barrels oxidizes the vinegar, deepening the color and adding complexity to the aroma and flavor. Further flavor is drawn from the oak casks the vinegar is stored in, while evaporation concentrates the vinegar.
Sherry Vinegar de Jerez has been awarded DOP protection by Spain & the European Union, ensuring that it cannot legally produced outside the Cadiz region and must be made using traditional ingredients & methods.