A tangy reduction of wild grape juice with a character similar to pomegranite syrup
Keyword: Reduction, Saba, Wild grape
Foodmill, preferably with set up with a medium die
Non-reactive sauce pot, such as stainless steel
Red wine vinegara few tablespoons
For an easy, clean harvest, cut the clusters of grapes off the vine using a good scissors. Bring the grapes clusters home, dip them in a sink of cool water to clean them, then don some gloves and remove the grapes from the vines.
Extract the Juice
Take the cleaned grapes and put them in a sauce pot with water almost up to the top of the grapes. Cover and cook on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until the grapes are hot and releasing their juice, about 15 minutes. Stir to mash them up a bit, then begin passing them through the food mill. Consider doing this part outside since wild grape juice can make your kitchen look like it was finger paint day at daycare. Measure the juice to see how much there is so you have a benchmark for reducing by 50% in volume.
Take the resulting liquid and strain through cheesecloth in a chinois or another strainer, trying not to press or squeeze too hard. The pulp that's left over can be used to make really cool homemade vinegar, or just infuse regular white wine or red wine vinegar (Grape essence is exremely vinegar and alcohol soluble).
Return the juice to the cleaned pot, adding 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar per cup (optional) and simmer on medium-low until reduced by about half. Depending on how well you strained it, and if you allowed it to settle overnight and remove some of the tartaric acid crystals, the juice may be a little syrupy, or it could start to bubble and spurt like mine. Whatever happens, and however you want it to turn out, make damn sure not to over cook or allow the bottom of the pan to char in any way or the finished product will taste off.
Transfer the reduction to a mason jar, label, date and refrigerate. The reduction will last for a few months under refrigeration, wipe the jar's lid with vinegar occasionally to ward off mold. I have not tested the PH but it can likely be water bath canned as-is, but I can't speak to it directly y
If you're industrious or a culinary adventurer, save the wild grape vines for drying as they're great for smoking, (a trick I learned from my old boss and friend Chef Lenny Russo) and you can also do things with the ash that remains (traditionally it's added to some cooked grape juice products, says Leda Merideth)