Champagne Vinegar: History, Flavor, Benefits, Uses

What is champagne vinegar?

Champagne vinegar is also known as vinaigre de Reims or Reims vinegar because it comes from Reims. Reims is a town in France’s Champagne region. Champagne vinegar is a wine vinegar made from Champagne wine, so its history is closely tied to that of the wine.

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The northeast part of France from which Champagne comes became a wine-producing region when the Ancient Romans planted the first vineyards around the 5th century. The town of Reims in what was then known as the province of Champagne would establish a connection with French royalty after 898 ADE as all of the succeeding French kings would be crowned there. Visiting royalty were all given gifts of the local wines.

Before they became the famous sparkling wines we know today, Champagne’s wines had become popular beyond France’s borders. Since then, the region’s wines have been associated with historical events like treaty signings and other major ceremonial occasions.

Sparkling wine has been around for thousands of years as the accidental byproduct of bottling the wine before it got a chance to complete its fermentation. The wine we know today was the product of a deliberate attempt to make an effervescent wine. Champagne was also clear, unlike the cloudy wines of the era. The apocryphal inventor was a monk from a Benedictine Abbey near Reims named Dom Perignon.

The champagne name is protected, and only sparkling wines from the Champagne region can be sold as champagne.

Because of the region’s northern location, Champagne grapes never receive enough sunlight to enable them to ripen on the vine, so the wine made with them is dry. Sugar is added when the wine is bottled for its second fermentation to remedy the dryness. The added sugar during the second fermentation gives the wine its fizz.

Champagne bottles are stored upside down and constantly turned, which causes sediment to get into the neck of the bottle. To drain the sediment out, the necks are frozen, and the bottles uncorked. Some of the wine comes out with the sediment, and it is from this wine that champagne vinegar is made.

Bacteria is added to the champagne to turn its alcohol into acetic acid, after which it is filtered and aged in oak barrels for a year. It takes four years between the harvesting of the grapes and the bottling of champagne vinegar.

Champagne vinegar flavor profile

Champagne vinegar is known for the light flavor and mild woody notes from the oak barrels in which it is aged. It offers a subtle tartness paired with delicate floral quality, but without the harshness you get from most other kinds of vinegar. It is less acidic than similar vinegars like white wine vinegar.

Health benefits

Champagne vinegar is not a good source of essential nutrients, but it may benefit health in other ways. Champagne vinegar contains very few calories per serving and can be used to add a lot of flavor to healthy foods without making them more likely to cause weight gain.

Common uses

The most popular way to use champagne vinegar is in salad dressings, but it can also play a role in popular classic French dishes. You can use it to enhance both beurre blanc and Bearnaise sauce. It is also a good option for the vinegar component in mayonnaise.