Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar is made from boiled grapes that matures due to slow acidification; the result of natural fermentation and steady thickening through a very slow ageing process in casks made of different woods, without the addition of any aromatic substances.

A deep, dark, glossy brown manifests its density in an honest, flowing syrupy consistency. It has a characteristic perfume; complex and sharp, with an evident but pleasant and harmonic acidity. Of a traditional and inimitably well-balanced sweet and sour taste, it offers itself generously full and savoury, with velvety hints in accordance with its typical olfactory characteristics”.

The definition of traditional balsamic vinegar sums up centuries of history in the few seconds needed to read it. What distinguishes balsamic vinegar from other vinegars is not only the substance from which it is made, but the alchemy of time and the knowledge belonging to a tradition that boasts ancient origins. Indeed, the time span of a human life is often only a brief event in the long voyage completed by the must.

Vinters in Modena, Italy have been making balsamic vinegar for nearly 1000 years and the process is similar to that of making wine. Sweet, white Trebbiano grape pressings (called “must”) are simmered for hours and hours until they have become thick and caramelized.

The resulting syrup is then aged in a succession of barrels made from different kinds of wood that give the vinegar character. Authentic balsamic vinegar is aged no less than 12 years. Cheaper balsamic vinegars are aged for a shorter amount of time in larger barrels and are typically mixed with wine vinegar and have coloring added.

White balsamic vinegar, however, blends white grape must with white wine vinegar and is cooked at a low temperature to avoid any darkening. Some manufacturers age the vinegar in oak barrels, while other use stainless steel.

The flavors of the two are very similar, although the dark balsamic is slightly sweeter and tends to be a little more syrupy. The white has more of a clean aftertaste. The main reason one would use white balsamic, rather than regular, is mostly aesthetic. It can be used with lighter colored foods, dressings, or sauces without any discoloring. If that sort of thing matters to you.

True balsamic vinegar (which has Protected Designation of Origin status) is aged for 12 to 25 years. Balsamic vinegars that have been aged for up to 100 years are available, though they are usually very expensive.

The commercial balsamic sold in supermarkets is typically made with concentrated grape juice mixed with a strong vinegar, which is laced with caramel and sugar. Regardless of how it is produced, balsamic vinegar must be made from a grape product.

The operations that take balsamic vinegar, the primary product of the grapevine, to the table are codified in a sort of ritual in which nothing is left to chance; each passage has been scientifically explained and yet what happens in the bowels of the casks remains essentially a mystery.

Here is a five barrel battery giving some possible examples of woods that might be used. Castania (chestnut), for example, is very important for coloration and acidic development. Cherry imparts a sweetness and juniper or mulberry provide a spicy aroma. Oak’s dense wood structure allows less evaporation. There aren’t really any hard and fast wood rules (I’ve seen mulberry used for the first barrel, for example), and, as usual, it comes down to your own taste preferences and luck.The absolute undoubtedly without question most important item is the ‘must’ content.

Rating System for Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

How Do I Get A Balsamic Vinegar Stain Out Of Clothing?

Purchase a very sharp pair of scissors. Carefully cut around the stain. When wearing the shirt in the future try to wear a garment underneath of similar colour in order for the hole to blend in.