What to Do with Vinegar That's Too Harsh?
I recently bought two bottles of red wine vineger--Maille and Kimberley Cabernet Sauvignon--and both are extremely harsh and chemical tasting and I'm someone who likes strong vinegary flavors. Even when I added a bit of honey to my salad dressing I couldn't neutralize the flavor. I really don't want to toss them but am wondering how I can put them to good use. If I use them for cooking, how is heat likely to affect the flavor? Am I asking an impossible question because the result will depend on the ratio of vinegar to other ingredients and what those other ingredients are?
I'm surprised you found the Maille red wine vinegar harsh and chemically tasting, I use it all the time when cooking (and uncooked) and have never found it to be such. And after tasting it right now against a generic 5% red wine vinegar I actually found it to be less potent and more flavorful.
If you're having issues with it though, just boil it for a bit to reduce the acidity.
So many red wine vinegars have different flavors and it may just be that I didn't like the flavors of these vinegars. I don't think diluting them with water is going to change the flavor. The last vinegar I had was an Unio cabernet red wine vinegar so it isn't that I'm not used to red wine vinegars, it's just that these taste like paint thinner and the others tasted better to me. I was hoping that cooking might mellow the taste. I'll play around and see if I can salvage them or find a friend who doesn't find them as objectionable as I do.