Vinegar diaries

Topsham, Devon October 20, 2004 Oh dear, the ongoing saga of the vinegar has taken a turn. Mother, it seems, has roared back to life with a vengeance. All week I've been feeding her the remains of some particularly good Italian reds I've been sampling for an article on wines for the holiday season: Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino, Le Salette Amarone, a good Chianti Classico, some beefy Primitivo wines from Puglia, an organic from Sicily. She has plumped up nicely and the white haze on the surface and the strong acetic aromas emanating from the vat (which I've been keeping in the dining room by my chair, much to Kim's annoyance and disgust) has been encouraging.
This morning...disaster! It seems the vinegar is now so vigorous and, well, so vinegary that it's somehow eaten through the rubber seal on the spigot of my 25 litre vat, deep, red, staining vinegar seeping out in a pond all over the wood floor. To be honest, I didn't notice at first, so intent was I on reading about the latest Red Sox victory in the unlikeliest comeback in this year's pennant race against the hated Yankees. My god, I cry on discovery: what a dreadful waste! My god, Kim cries on discovery: what a dreadful mess!
So, on the dot of 9am I hot-footed up the church steps into town to the local ironmongers, but nothing. Then down the road to the kitchen shop: all they could offer were large preserving type jars, maybe 2 litres each. Fine, I'll take three, clamber down the steps again, move the still leaking vat to the kitchen sink. There I roll up my sleeves and hoik out hunks of the slippery mother, now like a pulsing, living, throbbing bloody slab of raw liver, and clearly ravenous for more wine. Blood red vinegar running down my arms and staining my hands, I grab a hunk of the mother and place into each of the 3 jars. Then I top up with the vinegar I've salvaged, plus with more fine Italian red wines.
But hey, I've also been tasting some rather good whites. I know that white mothers are supposed to be different from red, but why? I add some water to the third jar to rinse off some of the deep red colour, then drain (hoping that I haven't killed her). I've now topped up with Pinot Bianco from the Südtirol, Chardonnay from Umbria, the remains of a rather good Fiano di Avellino from Campania, a mediocre Grillo from Sicily. Will it work? Will mother cooperate? Will we have white as well as red wine vinegar?
All will be revealed, I hope, in the fullness of time.

|Home| |QP New Media| |Kim's Gallery|

Copyright © Marc and Kim Millon 2004