Q. Balsamic vinegar is very expensive. Is there something I can use as a substitute?
A. Balsamic vinegar, made from sweet white grapes, is expensive because it is aged in barrels for years to develop its typical brown color and unique mellow, sweet flavor. Any wine vinegar can be substituted.
Since balsamic vinegar tends to be stronger in flavor, when substituting wine vinegar, use the amount called for, taste the dish and add more, if necessary.
Keep in mind that most vinegars made from grapes contain sulfites and should be avoided by those with sulfite allergies.
Consequently, a better choice for those with sulfite allergies would be vinegars made from grains, such as rice vinegar, and cider vinegar, which are generally sulfite free.