The Vincotto Salentino is a typical product from Apulia region, which is obtained by slowly cooking the grape must, previously cooked (Cuettu), and wine, which together are reduced into a non-alcoholic syrup.
The best quality Vincotto Salentino is produced using aged autochthonous red I.G.P wines.
Erroneously in Salento people call the "Cuettu" (fresh grape must that has been cooked) Vincotto. The "Cuettu" is obtained by slowly reducing the grape must until it becomes as thick as syrup with a smooth and sweet flavour.
The Vincotto Salentino is a food-condiment; we can find traces of it in the ancient literature.
In the Salentine peninsula in the XIX century (17th January 1863) in Apulia, vine became widely cultivated; before that it was only used for own consumption; the local varieties, originally from Greece and from the Byzantine Empire, cultivated on red terroirs, rich in iron, since then produce grapes very high in sugar, which cannot be produced in the rest of Apulia.
In the past the storing techniques used to preserve wine were not as good as today; hot climate was easily starting acetic fermentation in the wine and the only way to preserve it was to cook it. Cooking the wine people could store it, use it for cooking and to treat diseases. When some wine was left, the so called "spunto", it was mixed with the cooked must, cooking them together in order to use this precious nectar whenever needed. The product obtained from this mix is the Vincotto, which has a sweet component, the cooked grape must, and a sour part, given by the wine.
Vincotto is a very versatile product and it has a high quality; it is completely natural, rich in nutritional values as it is a product obtained by red grapes, rich in polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidants.
The added value of Vincotto Salentino is given by the fermentation phase of the red I.G.P wines from which is obtained. Fermentation is the process that characterizes most of the typical Italian foods.
Vincotto has a very long shelf-life. No additives nor preservatives are added to it; it doesn’t contain any added sugar nor honey; it is free from aromas and colorants.
The way today Vincotto is made is the one cited in an ancient recipe from Cassiano Basso (a Byzantine author) in the book VIII of his Geoponica (VI century D.C.): "Take fifty sestari (roman measurement scale) of high quality grape must and one hundred sestari of high quality wine cooking one third of it;…". A similar recipe can be found in Columella, De re rustica (I century D.C.), but using the name "embamma" (which stands for sauce or gravy). Plinio il Vecchio talks about Vincotto in his Naturalis Historia (I century D.C.).
The term Vincotto comes from the Salentin dialect "mieru cuettu", which comes from the latin words "merum" (wine) and "coctum" (cooked) and in the Salento area, in Apulia, people refer to Vincotto talking about the act of cooking together wine and cooked grape must.
Vincotto is not a "vino cotto", is not a "vin cotto" nor a "vicotto".
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