4 things you (may) not know about balsamic vinegar

The balsamic vinegar is a condiment with a rich and complex flavour that has deep roots in the Italian culinary tradition. But how many of us really know everything there is to know about this precious liquid? Here are four things you may not know about Oro Nero di Modena.

1. The long ageing process

While many condiments are ready for immediate use, balsamic is a product that takes time to be ready. Its production is an artisanal process that can take up to decades! The grapes, usually Trebbiano or Lambrusco, are pressed and the must obtained is slowly cooked for hours. Subsequently, the vinegar is aged in wooden barrels, often made of oak or chestnut. Some high-quality traditional balsamic vinegars may even have been aged for 25 or 50 years. This prolonged ageing allows the balsamic vinegar to develop a more complex flavour and a thick, syrupy consistency.

2. The PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Label of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

When you buy a bottle of traditional balsamic vinegar, you are faced with the DOP label. This acronym stands for ‘Denominazione di Origine Protetta’ (Protected Designation of Origin) and is a quality mark recognised throughout Europe. The PDO label guarantees that the balsamic vinegar has been produced in a traditional and authentic way, following strict quality standards and coming from a specific Italian territory, namely Modena.

3. The Art of Aging

The ageing of balsamic vinegar is a true art. While Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI must age for at least 60 days, Traditional must age for at least 12 years. During this long period, the barrels are opened to let air in, thus stimulating the oxidation process and developing the characteristic aroma and flavour of the balsamic. Barrels of different woods and in different sizes are also used: periodically transpassing into smaller barrels, without adding any aromatic substances. These practices require great skill and experience: it is necessary to be able to find the perfect balance between the desired ageing and exposure to air.


Do you want to know more about balsamic vinegar?

As you have seen (and as you certainly already know, if you have tasted it), balsamic vinegar is much more than just a condiment: it is a testament to Italian culinary tradition and art. The next time you pour it on your salad or use it to marinate meat, remember these curiosities that make this condiment so unique and fascinating…
If you would like to find out more and see for yourself how it is prepared, all you have to do is book a visit to the vinegar cellar. You can find more information directly here.