Spanish chef José Pizarro tastes five types of sherry vinegar

We Brits are cooking Spanish food more and more frequently, and sherry vinegar is one of many wonderful Spanish ingredients that are now at our fingertips. Spanish food hero José Pizarro and the Spanish Embassy held a sherry vinegar tasting so we could find out more.

How is it made?

The transformation of sherry to vinegar happens naturally due to the high acetic acid content of the fortified wine, and the vinegar is aged in American oak, in the same way as sherry. There are five principal types of sherry, which can each be turned into sherry vinegar:

  • Standard sherry vinegar: Aged for at least six months – harsh to drink alone but has rounded back notes and is full of flavour for cooking.
  • Reserva vinegar: Aged for at least 2 years. Less pungent than regular sherry vinegar, with a more complex and balanced flavour. Velvety in the mouth; element of sweetness. José suggests preparing a lentil and blue cheese salad with a drizzle of Reserva sherry vinegar.
  • Gran Reserva vinegar: Aged for at least 10 years. Inviting aroma of sherry. Strong but deliciously sweet.
  • Al Moscatel vinegar: Inviting, sweet smell of grapes and lovely balance of saltiness, sweetness, bitter tones and sourness on tasting.
  • Al Pedro Ximinez vinegar: Delicious – you could drink it on its own, never mind use it for cooking!

Top tip: it can be hard to match wines to dishes that are flavoured with sherry vinegar. The answer? Match them with sherry!

Try some of these delcious recipes using sherry vinegar:

This piece originally appeared on the Sainsbury's magazine blog, Tried and Tasted.