Pineau vinegar is made with either red and white pineau and then aged for four years, the long period of fermentation that is done in cognac barrels creating a vinegar with a deep flavour and aroma that is redolent of pineau. It is only made by Françoise and Philippe Fleuriet who first created it in their kitchen in Rouillac in the Charente. Find it there or at local markets and speciality shops.
The white vinegar has a soft, subtle flavour. Use it in salad dressings and to make sauces, marinades and chutneys. It goes well with chicken and is an excellent accompaniment to seafood.
The rose is more fruity. It too is perfect for salad dressings and to make sauces, marinades and chutneys. Use it when cooking gamey birds and duck as well as fruit. www.conserverie-fleuriet.com
Baume de Bouteville is a balsamic vinegar made from grape juice in the heart of cognac country. Its creator is Jacques Buffet, who was inspired to do so after his Italian son-in-law told him of the tradition in Italy where, at the birth of a daughter, winemakers make 100 litres of balsamic vinegar, let it age for 20 years in barrels, and then give 20 litres of it as a dowry when the daughter marries. Jacques Buffet decided to do something similar after the birth of his first grandson and Beaume de Bouteville was born.
Made with grape must from the Ugni grapes grown in the Grande Champagne, it is then aged for a minimum of 18 months – or 36 months for the vieille Réserve – in oak barrels that have contained cognac which also adds to the bitter-sweet flavour.