A Little Extra Wine Led To Our Luxurious Vincotto

The deep, dark syrup that is Vincotto, which is made from a dense reduction of red wine, is a luxurious addition to meats, hard cheeses or fresh fruit. And how could it not be? Beneath its cap is six months to grow the grapes, at least two years to make the wine from those grapes, and then six hours to simmer it over flame.

An accidental discovery

I discovered this Vincotto, which translates in Italian to “cooked wine,” myself while vacationing in Stresa, a small, beautiful city in Northern Italy. After stopping in a wine shop, the shop owners took us through a wine tasting and towards the end, some fare including olives, charcuterie, and pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano was served, which was then topped with this mysterious, dark liquid.

When I first saw it poured, I thought it was balsamic vinegar (which I couldn’t fathom pairing with wine and cheese) so I was pleasantly surprised to taste the Vincotto, which is the opposite of sour and vinegary balsamic vinegar.

As a cook, it was easy to see the possibilities. Who hasn’t had a wine reduction sauce drizzled on top of filet mignon or rack of lamb? So of course, I left the shop with a bottle of Vincotto (and a few cases of wine).

The Vincotto comes home

After making Vincotto back at home, I shelved the ideas for years until we opened Mount Salem Vineyards. We soon found we had a lot of open bottles of wine at the end of each weekend at Mount Salem Vineyards that wouldn’t taste quite as good the following weekend, even if it was properly resealed.

So, we made do. Every Monday, we started making Vincotto out of all of the open bottles of red wine.

Today, that Vincotto is available at Mount Salem Kitchen, which combines the tannin, acidity and phenolics of red wine with a bit of natural sugar, and then condenses it so that the flavor is very intense.

Sound intriguing? (We thought so, too). Click here to try it for yourself.

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