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Needed: Vinegar "Mother"


Waitman
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A dear friend has asked me for a little help during a tough time: after 25 years, her mother has lost her mother -- a bit of culture that, for more than two decades, helped streams if not oceans of leftover red wine make the transition from nasty stuff in the back of the fridge to delicious condiment. Cause of death is unknown but the passing was, by was all accounts, gruesome. If anyone can spare dram or so of mother of vinegar during this season of giving it would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

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A dear friend has asked me for a little help during a tough time: after 25 years, her mother has lost her mother -- a bit of culture that, for more than two decades, helped streams if not oceans of leftover red wine make the transition from nasty stuff in the back of the fridge to delicious condiment. Cause of death is unknown but the passing was, by was all accounts, gruesome. If anyone can spare dram or so of mother of vinegar during this season of giving it would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

I bought some online and have an extra one. My experience with the first one didn't go so well, but I blame myself and not the mother. It's yours if you want it.

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FWIW, Paula Wolfert got hers from Abra Bennett (who is now living in SW France when she isn't traveling), so you might try using some of your old connections.

There's info here somewhere about a local vinegar-maker--Firefly?--that sold its product briefly at local farmers markets. I wondered whether these folk were behind sleek, pricy bottles sold at WFM (and sometimes more cheaply at TJ Maxx). At any rate, if the company's still around, they might offer some consolation.

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FWIW, Paula Wolfert got hers from Abra Bennett (who is now living in SW France when she isn't traveling), so you might try using some of your old connections.

There's info here somewhere about a local vinegar-maker--Firefly?--that sold its product briefly at local farmers markets. I wondered whether these folk were behind sleek, pricy bottles sold at WFM (and sometimes more cheaply at TJ Maxx). At any rate, if the company's still around, they might offer some consolation.

We're it not for the damnable expense, I'd be booking Air France to Nice-Cote d'Azure international instead of typing this. Alas. though we do have an invite, we probably won't get to Abra in Uzes before Christmas. Dand -- much for fun that buying on e-bay.

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A dear friend has asked me for a little help during a tough time: after 25 years, her mother has lost her mother -- a bit of culture that, for more than two decades, helped streams if not oceans of leftover red wine make the transition from nasty stuff in the back of the fridge to delicious condiment. Cause of death is unknown but the passing was, by was all accounts, gruesome. If anyone can spare dram or so of mother of vinegar during this season of giving it would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

I wonder if your friend would explain how she makes wine vinegar. I have made one bottle so far using the mother-of-vinegar cast off by Bragg's apple cider vinegar (which is always sold with the mother in the bottle), which I poured into a leftover half bottle of red wine, and put into a dark cabinet until it smelled like vinegar. It's pretty good, but I imagine there are better ways.
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So...back in 2008, I started mother vinegars for both red and white wine at Eventide. They've both turned out to be great and super-strong (they both need to be diluted for home recipes). We use them both religiously at the restaurant. I have a 6 gallon batch of each going at all times.

If you want to have either (or both) of them ,just bring in a small container of either red or white wine that I can add to the mother vinegar and I'll siphon off the equal amount of vinegar for you to put back into the container that you provide.

I'll do this as much as I can until the vinegar gets too "winey".

-Dave

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I got a few PM's about this today so we'll be ready for you to stop by anytime. Right now, the red is super acidic, a bit tannic and just right. I can do up to half a 750 ml wine bottle right now for each taker. I don't want the vinegar getting more wine than it can turn too quickly. Like I said, the vinegars should be diluted (with water) in most cases so it will stretch out just fine.

I checked the white wine vinegar today and it seems that one of our employees dumped in way too much wine for the vinegar that was removed, so it's not as vinegary as it should be. Give me about two weeks and the white should be back to full strength.

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What type of wine do you recommend for each vinegar?

Honestly, we created the vinegars using just about every varietal we have in-house. In our restaurant, we have a fair amount of wine (but not too much, thank God) that is opened and left over at the end of Saturday night. Since we really don't sell wine again until Tuesday, besides a (very) few glasses on Sunday at brunch, we have to taste all of the wines on Tuesday to see how they held up. Those that didn't make it end up in the vinegar.

The red is comprised mostly of pinot noir, malbec, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The white is mainly chardonnay, pinot grigio, albarino, riesling and sparkling wines.

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Honestly, we created the vinegars using just about every varietal we have in-house. In our restaurant, we have a fair amount of wine (but not too much, thank God) that is opened and left over at the end of Saturday night. Since we really don't sell wine again until Tuesday, besides a (very) few glasses on Sunday at brunch, we have to taste all of the wines on Tuesday to see how they held up. Those that didn't make it end up in the vinegar.

The red is comprised mostly of pinot noir, malbec, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The white is mainly chardonnay, pinot grigio, albarino, riesling and sparkling wines.

I'm way, way, way remiss in posting this, but shaggy very nicely gave me a bottle of this, and it is far and away my favorite red-wine vinegar in my pantry. Whether it's the blend, or the fermentation time, or a little of both, it has a roundness and robustness to it that most commercial vinegars don't -- they're acid, acid, and more acid -- and it's absolutely perfect for my traditional French vinaigrette. I love this stuff.

FYI: The most expensive hippie-like brand of apple cider vinegar at Whole Foods comes with a mother at the bottom of each bottle!

Is the bottle capable of reuse, or do you have to transfer the mother in order to (for lack of a better word) breed it?

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Is the bottle capable of reuse, or do you have to transfer the mother in order to (for lack of a better word) breed it?

You can do either, or you can cut the mother into little pieces and start several new bottles. It's pretty much a blob of bacteria, so each fragment will contain millions of the little bugs. Thanks for the heads up Anna. I may head over there to WF - I've got a backlog of partial bottles of red wine.

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