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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK & GIFT: Sauternes Vinegar From Oliviers & Co

Before we sing the glories of the Sauternes vinegar from Oliviers & Co (photo #1) our Top Pick Of The Week, a few words are required for those who are not familiar with Sauternes wine.

Sauternes (saw-TERN) is the great sweet wine of Bordeaux—the great sweet wine of the world. It is made from the white Bordeaux grape, Semillon (SEM-e-yone).

One Sauternes, Château d’Yquem (ee-KEM), is one of the costliest wines in the world (photo #5).

Sauternes “is the symbol of the holiday season in France,” according to Oliviers & Co, and is generally served with the foie gras course.

A luxurious Christmas dinner often consists of foie gras served on a slice of toasted brioche with a glass of chilled sweet wine like Sauternes* (we like a bit of mesclun on the plate.

These luscious golden wines are beautiful to look at, and the taste is often sublime.

But you don’t need a bottle d’Yquem to enjoy Sauternes. Your wine store clerk can show you options for your budget.

Sauternes wine has notes of apricots, honey and peaches, a scrumptious aroma, and a broad pairing beyond desserts:

  • Blue and washed rind cheeses
  • Dessert
  • Foie gras
  • Fish and shellfish (photo #3)
  • Savory dishes with fruit
    Here’s a longer list of food pairings. Now, on to the Sauternes vinegar!

    Oliviers & Co has created a wonderful new way to expand the use of the great Sauternes wine: Sauternes vinegar.

    After our first taste, we were hooked.

    Like the wine itself, the fruity and honey-flavored notes are simply splendid: apricot, candied fig, grapefruit, vanilla even touch of coconut.

    We tasted it from the spoon, and then had another spoon, and another. It’s that mellow: no burning acidity.

    In addition to the nuances of fruit and honey, there’s a sweetness to this vinegar that we find analogous to the sweetness of a fine balsamic.

    It’s a great gift for anyone with a palate to appreciate the finer things.

    Thank you, Oliviers & Co. By the way, oliviers is French for olive trees. France has a bounty of them in the southern region of Provence.

    Take a look at all of the fine condiments from this fine French company.


  • Vinaigrettes, of course. The highest expression would be a mesclun salad with foie gras. Also check out the duck salad in photo #4. But you don’t need a special salad. Enhance your everyday greens!
  • Deglazing the pan.
  • Cheese course.
  • Chicken or fish en papillote.
  • Lacquered entrées, such as chicken or pork.
  • Entrées with tropical fruits: lychee, mango, papaya, passionfruit, pineapple.
  • Fresh fruits: peaches, nectarines, strawberries.
  • Hot and spicy Asian foods, such as Indian and Thai.
  • Desserts: fruit tarts, crème brûlée and panna cotta and other custard dishes.
  • Cocktails: Replace lemon or lime juice with Sauternes vinegar, using one-third the amount of citrus juice.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • Extra virgin olive oil (flavored, as in photo #2, is great)
  • Sauternes vinegar
  • Salt & herbs mix†
  • 4 firm potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons/30g butter
  • 4 salmon steaks, skin on
  • 6 shallots
  • Fleur de Sel (or other fine sea salt)

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 410°F/210°C.

    2. USE 2 skewers to cut the potatoes. To do so, prick the skewers through the middle of the potato and cut it into strips, so you only cut through halfway. Cut the garlic cloves into strips and divide them among the potatoes. Place them in an oven dish. Cut small pieces of butter and insert them in each potato. Sprinkle the whole with olive oil and fleur de sel. Bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile…

    3. PEEL the shallots, slice them and let them sweat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Then pour in 4 tablespoons of Sauternes vinegar and let it simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes.

    4. Ten minutes before the end of cooking the potatoes, place parchment paper in a large sauté pan and fry the salmon steaks on the skin side until the skin has a caramelized appearance, and cover 7-8 minutes. Then turn the fish over and cook for 1-2 minutes until the flesh is translucent (just cooked).

    5. ADJUST the seasoning, add some fresh ground pepper and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, the potatoes, and the shallots confit with their juice.



    *Other sweet wines from France include those from:
    – Barsac, the commune next to Sauternes, which produces the great Château Climens.
    – Monbazillac, which has a significantly proportion of Muscadelle in the blend, which can lead to slightly different aromas
    – Côteaux du Layon, a sweet white wine made in the Loire Valley from Chenin blanc grapes.
    All of these are white wines, but they vinify into a golden color that deepens as they age. Because of the high sugar content, these wines age long and well.

    †Oliviers & Co sells salt-and-herb mixes for both fish and meat. We mix coarse sea salt with rosemary for a delicious seasoning. You can also use dried basil, chives, dill, lemongrass and/or tarragon. In other recipes where fresh herbs are used, add the fresh versions of these herbs (including garlic, which is already in the recipe above).


    [1] Sauternes vinegar is made from the great French dessert wine, Sauternes (all photos except #5 © Oliviers & Co.)

    [2] This Christmas Duo contains a bottle of Sauternes Vinegar and a bottle of Christmas Olive Oil, EVOO naturally flavored with basil and green lemon. How can you resist? Purchase it here.

    [3] Sauternes Salmon with Hasselback Potatoes. The recipe is at left. You can use the same sauce on other seafood dishes.

    [4] Want something meatier? Make this Duck & Pear Salad With Sauternes Vinaigrette.

    [5] Château d’Yquem on a pedestal, where it belongs (photo © Château d’Yquem)

    [6] There’s something for every cook and connoisseur at Oliviers & Co.



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