Zing – I have to say it again. At the Shakey’s on the Rockville Pike, we didn’t use wine in the sauce, ever. Wine didn’t exist on the premises. Was it used by other Shakey’s? I can’t answer that, but I personally reject the notion without a stronger choir than I’ve read so far. Since I would be the last to dissuade you from experimenting, in this case, I’ll just say to be careful of over thinking this and possibly going down a wrong path.
At the Rockville store, we used Heinz puree, water and a Shakey’s herb mix. It was, I think, entirely dried green herbs. There was no trace powder in the mix that I recall, but can’t argue that sugar and natural flavors wouldn't be ingredients. I wouldn’t extend that to include wine powder, calcium, citric powder, salt – or any other crystal or powder. If there was anything mixed with the herbs, it was a dusting. I have a hard time believing Sherwood was that scientific. The ratio was on the order of 15 gallons of puree + water to a quart of dried herbs.
Now that I’ve read the previous posts, I get where your ZING moniker comes from and the quest you’re on - and you’re right, there is a ZING to the sauce. ZING a good word and says a lot. Since my last post, I visited a couple Shakey’s in the LA-area, including the corporate store in Rancho Cucamonga, CA http://rancho.shakeys.com/Press/PressRelease.aspx
. Although their baking methods are obviously different (more later if interested), the Rancho Cucamonga store was the sauce I remember. ZING. Good stuff.
Funny story, just as I was approaching the store, the corporate delivery truck was unloading the sauce – yep – boxes of it, on the sidewalk. I snapped a picture on the way by, using my new phone camera, not realizing the damn thing would “click”, resulting in the driver trying to figure out what that noise was. The biggest covert operation ever~!
Anyway, as for the ZING, I say it’s predominantly in the Heinz puree as acidity or maybe even bitterness, but not wine, wine powder or calcium. As such, now that you’ve located a supply of Heinz Puree, I challenge you to find that ZING you’re looking for in the puree itself. Puree can be strained with or without seeds, cooked a little or a lot, fresh or ripe, thick or thin, etc. We’ll never know the process Heinz uses to make that particular puree, but look for the ZING there. My best guess is that the Shakey’s sauce recipe is now buried in a corporate box of Heinz puree, water and herbs.
All for now - thanks for the personal e-mail. Happy food engineering~! I look forward to your progress.