Alvear is the most important producer of Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry*—and sherry vinegar—in Spain. A bottle of Alvear PX sherry? Recognizable anywhere. A bottle of Alvear PX Vinegar? Not so much…until now.
The evolution of the Alvear PX Vinegar packaging has been colorful and full of sweeping changes. From its incarnation, Alvear PX Vinegar has been sold (for convoluted reasons) in red wine bottles with subdued black labels reading “Palacio Quemado”—referencing Alvear’s wine company. Additionally, the differences between the sweet and dry versions were unclear and difficult to recognize at the retail store level. Furthermore, because the bottles were difficult to source, it often took months to get the vinegar out of Spain, causing back orders.
In 2014, in a leap of faith, Maria Alvear (it has been a family business since 1729!) redesigned the packaging to shout out loud: “Alvear and proud.” The vinegar is now bottled—sensibly—in a readily-available sherry bottle, and the label features a sherry-style designation that rightfully reflects Alvear’s proprietorship and the world-famous Pedro Ximénez grape. The dry sherry vinegar gets a cream-colored label, and the sweet sherry vinegar gets vivid Spanish orange.
Clearly Alvear, clearly PX, easy to find on the shelves, and readily available. A win all around.
Has the quality changed? Heck, NO! Alvear uses 100% PX sherry, which is converted into vinegar and aged for 10 years in a solera that dates back about 75 years. This is all done at the Alvear bodega in Montilla—Spain’s home of the famous PX sherries.
Why is some PX vinegar cheaper? Read the label! More than a few are cheap sherry vinegar mixed with PX vinegar. Alvear PX Vinegar is 100% PX and 10 years old.
*Officially, only sherry wine made in next-door Jerez can be designated “sherry”, but for purposes of clarity about product type, we here refer to PX sherry-style wine as “sherry”.