Vincotto or Sapa is a dark, sweet dense condiment produced artisanally in the Puglia/Apulia and Marche regions of Italy. It is made by the slow cooking and reduction over many hours of non-fermented grape must until it has been reduced to about one fifth of its original volume and the sugars present have caramelized. It can be made from a number of varieties of local red wine grapes including Primitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, collected after being allowed to wither naturally on the vine for about 30 days. In Roman times it was known by the same name, sapa in Latin, and epsima in Greek, that is often used for it in Italy and Cyprus, respectively, today
Agrodolce vinegars based on vincotto
Like a dense sweet balsamic "vinegar
," the balsamic vincotto Agrodolce version can also be used to dress salads and season cooked vegetables, and can even be used in desserts such as fruits or ice cream.
These are produced by blending a sweet matured vincotto with vinegar produced from the same red grape varieties. The resulting product is allowed to mature for several more months until it becomes "legato," which means "smooth." The result is an Apulian balsamic vinegar that can be used in the same way as a balsamic vinegar of Modena, although it does have some additional properties. Red Apulian grapes and wines exhibit a very high polyphenol count, and these act as antioxidants and as a natural flavour enhancer with other foods. They can enhance other flavours when used in a recipe, while not overpowering them, and as is usually the case with other balsamic vinegars, they can be reduced over heat without any bitter caramelization.
Calogiuri vincotti are also produced in a variety of aromatized or flavoured versions in much in the same way as flavoured extra virgin olive oils. Locally grown fruits are used, including fig
, carob, lemon
, or chili pepper
. This is an adaptation of traditional Apulian vincotto, but should not be confused with the understanding of generic Apulian vincotti.