You have more than likely heard of white wine vinegar and red wine vinegar. Now, get ready to meet your new favorite flavor: champagne vinegar. This mild vinegar is incredibly versatile and perfect for the lighter dishes of spring and summer. Here is what you need to know about champagne vinegar:

What Is Champagne Vinegar?

As the name suggests, champagne vinegar is made from champagne. It has a relatively light taste, and is in fact one of the more delicate vinegars available on the market. Champagne vinegar should have a consistency similar to water and it should be a pale gold or apricot orange color. It should not be green, red, brown or any of the darker colors that other flavored vinegars may exhibit. In comparison to other popular vinegars, such as white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar tastes much milder and is an ideal choice when you want to add the tang of vinegar without overpowering the other flavors in the dish.

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While champagne vinegar is often compared to rice vinegar, white wine vinegar and sherry vinegar in terms of color, flavor and consistency, champagne vinegar is a touch milder than even its closest cousins, which you should keep in mind if you are tempted to make substitutions. In fact, in some cases, a citrus juice such as lemon may actually be a closer substitute for champagne vinegar, depending on the other flavors in the dish. If you are doing the reverse and subbing in champagne vinegar for a different, more powerful vinegar, keep in mind that you might need to increase the amount of vinegar in order to maintain the same level of flavor.

How Is Champagne Vinegar Made?

Champagne vinegar is vinegar made from sparkling champagne, which is often called sparkling wine if it is made outside the Champagne region in Northern France. Champagne is usually made from a mix of three kinds of grapes: Pinot Noir (a red variety), Pinot Meunier (another red variety) and Chardonnay (a white variety). In rare cases, champagne may be made from four other varieties: Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbane. Thus, champagne vinegar is made using the grapes mentioned above, usually the Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier grapes.

The champagne or sparkling wine is turned into vinegar through a fermentation process that involves adding Acetobacter aceti, which are bacteria that can convert ethanol to acetic acid. The vinegar may be aged in barrels for up to two years in order to get the distinctive taste and smell of champagne vinegar.

How to Cook with Champagne Vinegar

The lighter, more mild taste of champagne vinegar makes it an ideal choice for lighter dishes where a heavier vinegar might overpower the other flavor notes. Champagne vinegar is a particularly excellent choice for a light salad made with delicate greens. It also makes an excellent dressing for other light vegetables, such as asparagus. Champagne vinegar is also a good choice for marinating chicken, fish or shrimp, though it is a bit too light to be an ideal pairing with heavier red meats. Its lighter flavor also makes it an excellent complement to fruit in various dishes, including fruit salad and fruit salsa.

Purchasing and Storing Champagne Vinegar

Before purchasing, ensure that the champagne vinegar has been made using the types of grapes outlined above. If it has been made with other types of grapes, or does not have the types of grapes listed, then you cannot be sure that you are getting real champagne vinegar. We make our PARASOL champagne vinegar from Chardonnay grapes in California to get the best taste. We also add navel oranges to enhance the light acidic flavor and to add some complexity to the flavor profile while still keeping it mild.

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Also look for vinegar with a harvest date printed on it so you can be sure you are using it before it passes the peak of freshness. After opening the vinegar, you should use it within six months to get the greatest flavor from it. You should also store your vinegar in a cool, dry, dark place, as sunlight and heat can negatively affect the longevity of vinegar.

If you are looking for a high-quality champagne vinegar, then definitely check out our PARASOL champagne vinegar. 

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