Making balsamic vinegar

Following is the procedure for making balsamic vinegar.

Grape must of the qualities of Trebbiano di Spagna, Lambrusco or Lancellotta, typical of the planes and hills of Modena, is pressed until juice is obtained.

After leaving the juice to settle for one night and the impurities rise to the surface, it is cooked until the volume is reduced by a third.

Then this concentrated must is put inside the largest barrel where fermentation begins. At the end of each year during winter time, decanting is made from the smallest to the largest barrel. The final product is then extracted from the smallest barrel.

This process of fermentation, maturation and ageing of the duration of about 25 years is the recipe to obtain Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

Of great importance are the volumes and the type of wood of which the barrels are made. The largest one is around 50 litres, the smallest must be greater than 10 litres. Types of wood include robinia, oak, mulberry, cherry, chestnut, each one providing a different essence and aroma.

It's also for this reason that no Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is equal to another.

Why Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is difficult to produce outside Modena

The climate typical of Modena has a strong influence.

A freezing and humid winter together with a torrid and humid summer are ideal for the fermentation, maturation and ageing of the product in the attics.

A dry climate or slight changes of temperature between seasons will not set the three previous stages correctly.

Experiments were made with producers located outside Modena or Reggio Emilia, but the results were quite poor.

The quality of the grapes of the Modena territory also plays an important role.

Lambrusco, Trebbiano and Lancellotta have such characteristics that the grade sugar levels in the must, when concentrated, improve the fermentation.

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