Tips for buying the best Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

To enrich a dish, often all that is needed is a few drops of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. It is a condiment that can lend acidity, structure, aromaticity and persistence to any dish, from the simplest to the richest. However, selecting the best product may not be easy. On the market, in fact, there are different types with different characteristics.

Typologies of Balsamic Vinegar

The Balsamic Vinegar of Modena can be distinguished into different types. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO, for instance, is only made from certain selected vines in the Modena area. As far as processing is concerned, it is carried out starting with cooking in open jars, and completed with ageing for at least 12 years in vinegar cellars. To obtain the ‘PDO‘ designation, vinegar must not only be produced and aged in the Modena area, but also bottled, according to precise rules.

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI, on the other hand, can be made using must from grapes grown throughout the Emilia region, with the addition of vinegar aged for at least 10 years and wine vinegar. In addition, caramel may be used in the preparation, up to a maximum of 2% by volume. The ageing of the product finished is much shorter, and takes place over 60 days (at least 3 years for the ‘aged’ ones) in fine wooden containers. In this case, all production phases must take place in the Modena area.


Which vinegar do you prefer?

The two main types of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena are both valid. In fact, the organoleptic characteristics depend on the quality of the raw materials used in the preparation and the casks (or containers) used for refining and ageing. As far as Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is concerned, one must also consider the quantity of raw materials, i.e. the ratio of cooked must to wine vinegar and the possible presence of caramel (which may indicate a shortage of must). Precisely for this reason, it is good to choose reading the list of ingredients on the label.

Other tips for choosing vinegar


  • Watch the bottle:Balsamic Vinegar of Modena produced according to PDO and PGI standards must bear the logo on the label. Otherwise, the product does not comply with the specifications, and may even have been made outside the territory of Modena. In addition, it is a vinegar that may also contain added sugar, as there is no regulation preventing this. In any case, buying only by turning to professionals, protects against these problems.
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  • Controlling ageing: The production process for optimal quality vinegar also involves d ageing. Indeed, the more time the liquid spends in wooden barrels, the more it absorbs the aromas of the wood and acquires perfume and intensity.
  • Observe the contents of the bottle: Even when the bottle is closed, certain details can be observed, such as the density of the contents. The denser the vinegar is, and the sweeter it is on the palate, since this means that the sugars are more concentrated. Care must be taken, however, not to confuse density with viscosity, which is instead due to the addition of thickeners. Again, it is important to read the label carefully, to be sure of the ingredients in the vinegar.
  • The vinegar is not only sweet, but also very sweet.