Essentia’s history is part serendipity, part design. It begins in the 1980s when Rozendal owner Kurt Ammann was still making wine – and enjoying success with his acclaimed Bordeaux blends. One fortuitous year, Kurt discovered that his 1988 vintage contained slightly too much volatile acidity, and this ‘flaw’ proved a happy accident – providing the perfect opportunity to venture into vinegar making. The inaugural 2000 litres of leavened wine was left to mature in small oak barrels. Intent on pursuing the highest quality, Kurt reserved a small quantity for extra maturation, and over two decades later, his children discovered the result to be an exceptional yield of the finest vinegar.
Essentia was so named in homage to the legendary Hungarian wine beloved by nobility for its luxurious, sweet taste and health benefits. These characteristics are echoed in Rozendal’s rendition, and each bottle is similarly precious: the vinegar is limited to three barrels (2700 bottles) and priced according to rarity.
True quality takes time – at Rozendal we employ the traditional French Orleans method of vinegar making and allow for natural fermentation; the outcome perfected by extended oak maturation. But quality is also dependent on a select ingredient from the start – which is why we use good, balanced wine and not the dregs or caramel additives common in the vinegar industry.
Hints of ripe apricot and deep shades of gold and amber give Essentia a distinctly autumnal mood. With an elegant, smooth body, it can be enjoyed pure as an aperitif, or used freely in cooking – we suggest drizzling the vinegar over black figs or homemade vanilla ice cream.