A 50 year-old vinegar has just landed!
The Australian vinegar scene has kicked up a notch in recent years, with independent heavy-hitters such as LiraH producing vinegars of incredible quality and versatility. We’ve got a lot of time for the smaller producers though, like Cintra Estate, whose latest batch of vinegar exhibits exceptional character and nuance, the likes of you just don’t find in bigger operations.
Vinegar’s often a second thought, a byproduct made from lesser-quality grapes with the premium produce saved for wine – but not at Cintra. “I don’t know another vineyard that uses all their fruit for vinegar,” says owner Matt Robinson. The grapes at Cintra come from 30-year-old mature vines, with a lower yield but more potent end product.
Matt and his wife, Francesca, have been producing vinegar for 20 years, using traditional methods of fermentation learned from Francesca’s Italian Nonna, as well as her 50-year-old mother culture. Their vineyard is tucked away in a town called Billimari, down the road from Orange in country NSW. They use premium Aussie grapes, matured in oak barrels for three years, allowing the mother culture to turn the alcohol into smooth acidity for their award-winning vinegar. Cintra Estate’s products are lightly filtered through cheesecloth, unpasteurised and brimming with life, “If you bought our vinegar and left it on the shelf for two years, there’s a good chance you’ll get the mother growing back in there,” Matt says.
The white vinegars will come through first this season, followed by the reds, but it’s the Chardonnay vinegar Matt’s most excited about. “A lot of chefs are after a Chardy vinegar,” he explains, “Ours is going to surprise you. It’s incredible how versatile it is.” They’ve got their sights on aged vinegar next, “It’ll be a softer flavour, like an aged red wine,” says Matt, “the harshness will drop and you’ll get more flavours coming out.”
N&S has been working with Matt and his team for over 15 years. We’ve seen their offering grow from one product (their famous caramelised red wine vinegar) to a full suite of seven vinegars and vino cotto. We can’t wait to share Matt’s latest batch with you.
Give us a call to organise a tasting today – 9666 5601