Vinegar is a commonly heard and used ingredient in the kitchen as well as red wine but did you know that there is such a thing called red wine vinegar? They are not red wine and vinegar combined into one, rather it is a transformation, made with just the red wine but with a longer process.
To explain things further, red wine vinegar is made by prolonging the fermenting process of red wine until it achieves the sour taste of vinegar. It is then strained and aged to mellow out some intense flavors and finally bottled. It has traces of a lot of nutritional values such as vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. Adding red wine vinegar to your dishes can really help elevate the flavors with its rich and punchy acidity and slightly sweet grape taste.
Red wine vinegar goes well in salads and red meat dishes as dressings, pickling, seasoning, or marinade. There are a lot of options out there and some may not live up to your expectations. So, to help you out, we have laid out the top 10 best red wine vinegars as well as several guidelines on how to choose the right one for you.
Things to Consider When Buying a Red Wine Vinegar
As always, an item has a lot of brands and models in the market and they all have something to give that makes them stand out. If you are new to red wine vinegars, you’re going to need a guide as to what you’re going to expect, so here are a couple of factors to consider when buying a red wine vinegar.
Red wine vinegar was once just a red wine so they can be categorized based on what type of wine they are made of. Each type has its own balance of sweetness and sourness that set them apart from others. This is also owing to the red wine’s grape variety, age, and barrels that it is fermented in which results in the red wine vinegar’s flavor profile. Naturally, people have different preferences as well, so at least they can choose a vinegar that suits their palate. But, how can you know the taste before buying them? The safer route should be to stick on the red wine that you are familiar with as it has the same tasting and aroma notes of that, just with the acidic taste.
The next thing to look out for in choosing a red wine vinegar is the price. Sometimes, an item’s price can really dictate its quality, or at least, that’s the mindset of some people. Others, however, enjoy value. There are brands that offer a great discount wherein you can get more than one bottle at a reasonable price. Some vinegar is also imported so you can expect them to have a higher price but with great quality.
Vinegar is a beloved condiment that is used to season awesome dishes. Red wine vinegar is a special form of it since it is technically a wine, which is also known to have a great flavor. Some red wine vinegars can be used for almost anything, from vegetable dishes to meat dishes to fish dishes as well as sauces and dressings. However, some red wine vinegars can only work best for one of these foods, more likely salads. These are the brands that pair well with olive oil to make a great vinaigrette. If you want to save money and be efficient, you can choose a brand that works with an array of food. But, if you want to assign a red wine vinegar to a specific food such as a dressing or vinaigrette for salads, then you can choose a red wine vinegar whose taste is most suitable for salad dressings.
Some people appreciate a touch of acidity in their dishes, and there are some who want more acidity to give their food a bright and crisp taste. Red wine vinegars have an acidity level that can range from 5% - 8%. The higher the acidity level, the better the vinegar is used for preserving foods. For instance, in pickling, you have to use vinegar with at least 5% acidity. Some of the vinegars are diluted with water so their acidity level can be reduced to 5% mostly, which is the standard level of acidity. Some higher quality red wine vinegars tend to have a lower acidity level, about 5% - 6%. The aging process usually takes 2 years but it could be more, and the longer it takes to age, the more the vinegar gets mellowed out, thus a lesser acidity. If you tend to have acid reflux, then you better pick a red wine vinegar with a low acidity level, usually, it is indicated on the bottles so be sure to check them out first.
Our Top Picks
If you want an all-around red wine vinegar, choose Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar. It is a trusted brand by a lot of buyers and has a good price for a high-quality vinegar. It can also be used for almost any kind of dish.
2. Most Affordable
For an Italian red wine vinegar, Mantova Red Wine Vinegar comes cheap. You’re going to get a great deal if you’re going to buy the pack of 4 because, for every 1 ounce of it, you’re only paying $0.29.
3. Most Expensive
Looking for a lavish red wine vinegar for a greater quality? Then, Fini Red Wine Vinegar is what you want. For every ounce of it, you’re spending $1.64. It’s reasonable though since you’ll be getting the utmost quality of selected red wines turned into vinegar.
4. Most Unique Flavor
Aside from the hint on red wine flavor and the sourness that vinegar normally has, Banyuls French Red Wine Vinegar has a lot more to offer beyond grapes. If you want to know if it’s true, buy one now.
5. Best for Cooking
Colavita Aged Red Wine Vinegar will not let you down in the kitchen. It is guaranteed to turn any dish, whether salads, meat dishes, sauces, or dressings into something more interesting and elevated, and at an affordable price too.
Health is wealth and if you want it to stay this way, choose an organic and zero-calorie red wine vinegar like the Napa Valley Naturals Red Wine Vinegar. It has more to offer in terms of promoting good health and you’re about to find out.
Top 10 Red Wine Vinegars
In spite of the current pandemic and quarantine, you can still buy stuff that you need at the comfort of your homes through online stores such as Amazon. The following red wine vinegars are the best ones on Amazon and you can pick one right now.
Pompeian is known for its olive oil but its red wine vinegar is also popular. In fact, it is the best-selling red wine vinegar in America. It has 5% acidity, is non-allergenic and gluten-free. It is made from organic grapes grown and harvested in Italy, specifically in the Emilia Romagna region as well as in the United States and Spain. Furthermore, it is free from sulfites and it is unfiltered and unpasteurized combined with the mother, which is the substance that contains cellulose and acetic acid that makes alcohol into vinegar. It is affordable and highly recommended by buyers. They say that its fruity taste with the right acidity is well-balanced and is absolutely perfect for adding a nice zing to salads, pork, and other meats.
Try a taste of Italy with Colavita aged red wine vinegar. It is an authentic Italian red wine vinegar made through traditional and natural ways of selecting wines and aging and fermenting them in wooden barrels. It has about 6% acidity, has a low calorie, is completely non-GMO and gluten-free. The result is a fine vinegar with sharp and tangy notes but not overwhelming and with a robust and sandalwood flavor. One whiff of this great vinegar will get you salivating instantly. It is excellent as a dressing for vegetable salads and a marinade for red meat and chicken. You can get two bottles of these bad boys for a very affordable price. And as you look at them, they look like a bottle of fine red wine and they are carefully packaged like red wine, which makes them a great gift for someone who enjoys cooking.
Another product of Italy is Mantova Red Wine Vinegar. The ingredients are different varieties of grapes that are grown in Italian soil and the process of selecting, blending, and aging are all done in Italy. It is made to achieve the highest quality, being created in a classic process of aging in fine wooden casks for a longer time to develop a depth of flavor. It is absolutely low in calories and is packed with numerous health benefits, making it a great choice for diet, stimulating digestion, and promoting heart health. It turns a basic meal into an exquisite-tasting piece of work that will leave you wanting for more, may it be an appetizer, side or entree. It has 6% acidity and has a tangy taste with a rich flavor. People applaud it because according to them, Mantova has the right balance of sweetness and acidity that helps in adding flavor to the meat as well as tenderizing them. You can also taste hints of the full-bodied wine it once was.
If you are into salads and you are looking for the best vinegar to make an awesome vinaigrette, your search is over because you have found Viniteau red wine vinegar. This one is also an Italian product, aged for two long years in oak barrels for maximum quality and has 6.5% acidity. It is slightly more expensive than the other Italian red wine vinegars on the list but it is not for naught. The duration of the aging process results in vinegar with a more pronounced fruity red wine flavor and a pleasantly sour taste. It is also surprisingly mild in terms of acidity, making it great for sweet and sour dishes but it works best as a salad vinaigrette.
The other foreign contender in this list of red wine vinegars is the French Banyuls red wine vinegar. Banyuls is made from a premium wine that is famous in France called vins doux, which translates to “sweet wine”. The wine is made from grenache grapes that are grown and harvested in Banyuls-sur-Mer, a commune on the south-west coast of France. The vinegar’s great qualities are obtained owing to the whopping five years of aging in oak casks that helps in retaining the wine qualities in the vinegar. Technically, the vinegar is aged for only four years in oak barrels, letting it be exposed to sunlight and rain and in the fifth year, they will be transferred into smaller oak barrels and continue aging there. It has 6% acidity and has a delightful scent which is great for sauces and appetizers. Its taste borders between balsamic vinegar and sherry vinegar, it has hints of licorice, orange peel, vanilla, and nuts. It is a bit on the sweeter side but overall, it has a clean and well-balanced flavor. It is also characterized by its rosy golden color and works best for duck meat, foie gras, and game meats.
Experience Greek cuisine with the Terra Medi red wine vinegar. It is made from Corinthian grapes that are grown at the estates of Peloponnese in Greece through a natural process resulting in a bright and crisp vinegar. Aside from Greek food, it is also good with other Mediterranean foods and is said to greatly accompany Terra Medi’s own olive oil or any other Greek olive oils. It has a unique golden color due to the natural pigmentation of the grapes and the fact that it has no added colors and sweeteners. It is also presented very well, with a simple bottle that highlights the vinegar’s hue, making it a wonderful addition to your condiment shelf. Overall, it gives a delightful sweet and sour taste that is great for making salads, sauces, and meat dishes.
If you like to splurge just to get the most exquisite ingredient to add life to your dishes, you should do so with Fini red wine vinegar. Red wine vinegar is already a special ingredient that costs more than any other condiment or seasoning but this one is a bot extra. This expensive bottle of red wine vinegar hails all the way from Modena, Italy. It is specially made with selected wines and by slow and careful fermentation and aging in wooden barrels to get the right mix of flavors and aroma. It has 7% acidity and has a great blend of sweetness and tartness. It is a handy condiment in the kitchen and is usually made for light dishes such as salad dressings, soups, sauces, and marinades too.
If you are watching out for your figure but still want good food, try the Progresso red wine vinegar. It has zero calories and zero fat and it provides the perfect balance of sweetness and crispness to your salads and other vegetable dishes. The wine used is diluted with water to reach a 5% acidity which is a great level of acidity for both light and heavy dishes such as vegetable-based ones and meat dishes. You can also use it for sauces, marinades. This one is a handy ingredient with great value to have in your kitchen and surely a vinegar that your whole family loves.
With all the imported red wine vinegars in the list, of course, there has to be an American contender. If you are new to red wine vinegar and you’re just starting to incorporate it into your dishes, a really good choice is Heinz because it gives you a standard or basis on what red wine vinegar is supposed to taste like. This brand makes use of a special Burgundy wine made from grapes grown in New York and Georgia. Given that it is Burgundy wine, you should expect a vibrant and rich flavor as well as color. It also has 5% acidity and zero calories and fat. Heinz red wine vinegar is also kosher and many say that it’s among the best ones. It has a full taste, free from any bitterness, and with hints of sweetness that are best enjoyed raw, just add a bit of olive oil and you will have a delicious and guilt-free vinaigrette in no time. It can also go beyond salad dressings including marinades.
Great value, beneficial to health and exceeds expectations, Napa Valley red wine vinegar is a staple in many kitchens. It is made from a barrel-aged Italian wine with a blend of the best grapes, olives, seeds, and nuts, and bottled in the United States. Furthermore, it is unpasteurized and unfiltered so it can develop a depth of flavors. It can also be made from a decadent California red wine. It has 6% acidity and it contains natural sulfites and no added sugars and coloring. It comes in an enticing bottle that shows off the vinegar’s vibrant ruby hue. Its flavor profile is more on the fruity and tart side, making it suitable for vinaigrettes, pasta, and marinades. It is certified organic, free from BPA, calories, fat, sodium, and is vegan and non-GMO.
If you don’t have red wine vinegar or haven’t tried it yet, it’s time to make your kitchen and your cooking used to it. You will not regret buying one because there are good ones that come with a really affordable price. And then you can level up by buying the best ones with the greatest quality to upgrade your dishes every time, not to mention, it helps you improve your health. To make your meal even better, pair it with a glass of wine. Here are some of the cheap wines but taste awesome and if you like Moscato wines, you can choose one right here.