The great French gastronome Curnonsky wrote (in the series Recettes et paysages) - Do not forget that the vinegar of Orleans is unrivalled!Now Martin Pouret is the last vinegar maker in Orleans and it seems the last in France to make vinegar entirely in wooden barrels. The street Faubourg Bannier in the French city of Orleans begins near the station up away from the oldest part of the city beside the Loire. At number 236, a modest sign marks the establishment of Martin POURET. Inside a small courtyard there is a clean, strong sweet smell of vinegar coming form one building. The Orleans process as it has long been called inside and outside France is just the old way of letting wine ferment slowly into vinegar inside partly filled barrels.
Slow, old fashioned methods do not fit easily into modern economy but Jean Francois Martin, 6th generation, is convinced that the company has survived solely because of the merits of the product. The vinegars produced by Martin Pouret are made from wines of the Loire Valley, Bordeaux and Burgundy vineyards. The inherent beauty of these wines is brought to the forefront with the Orleans process. Unlike commercial vinegars, which are heated to speed acidification, the slow aging employed by Pouret preserves the original perfumes and minerals of the wine.
The addition of aromatic purple basil to Martin Pouret's white wine vinegar creates a lively, herbal flavor that is perfect for dressing salads or sprinkling over fish.