Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO is made with cooked grape must, using grape varieties that are typical to Modena, undergoing a lengthy and natural ageing process in small casks kept by families in the attics of their homes. The entire production process, from cultivating and processing the grapes, as well as ageing and bottling, must take place solely within the province of Modena.
Characterised by its deep and intense dark brown COLOUR, its DENSITY is expressed in its correct, flowing syrup-like quality. It is obtained from cooked grape must, aged through slow acetification deriving from natural fermentation and progressive concentration achieved through extensive ageing in series of containers (casks) in various sizes and types of wood, without the addition of aromatic substances. It features a characteristic, complex and penetrating AROMA, together with an evident acidity that is agreeable and harmonious.
Its traditional and inimitable well-balanced sweet and sour FLAVOUR is generously rich and savoury with velvety nuances, in harmony with its unique olfactory characteristics.
The strict regulations of PDO
The name “balsamic” comes from the healing properties attributed to the product as early as the 1700s when it was used as a remedy to treat plague-induced sores. Vinegar was also considered a cure for migraines in Roman times. Nowadays it is used in kitchens all over the world to add a special touch to recipes.
Its production follows simple but precise procedures regarding times, methods and places to be used, to be strictly adhered to, as described in the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO Regulations.
The process of creating the product is divided into three fundamental phases:
HARVESTING THE GRAPES, PRESSING AND COOKING THE MUST, AGEING AND MANUAL DECANTING.
Harvesting the grapes
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO is made from “grape varieties traditionally grown in the province of Modena”, and in particular from Lambruschi and Trebbiano grapes. In any case, it must be made from grape varieties registered in the DOC (controlled designation of origin) list in the province of Modena, the use of which is permitted according to the Production Regulations.
Pressing and cooking the must
The pressing is carried out delicately to limit breaking the grape seeds, which could release raw flavours that are not ideal for the production of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO.
Ageing and manual decanting
Ageing takes place for a period of at least 12 years in a series of casks that decrease in volume, made from different types of wood (oak, chestnut, mulberry, cherry, juniper, etc.).
The specific aromatic characteristics of the product will differ depending on the wood used for each individual cask.
The sequence of individual casks is called a “batteria” (set), which is placed in residential attics where it is subjected to seasonal temperature variations.
Every year during the cold season, a quantity of product suitable for final use is decanted by hand from the smallest cask, through the “travaso” (pouring) technique. At the same time, the contents of the smallest cask are reintegrated with those of the previous and larger cask, through an operation called “rincalzo” (topping up). These operations are essential to ensure that all those natural transformations can take place, allowing the final product to achieve a harmony of flavours and aromas that make Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO an inimitable product.
Certified by expert tasters
The experts are authorised by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MIPAAF); they taste the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO that the certified producers want to market. These experts only authorise its bottling after a careful and stringent organoleptic examination that verifies the visual, olfactory and taste aspects. All of this takes place with the utmost anonymity of the sample to ensure impartiality.
Craftsmanship handed down in the family
The story goes that the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO derives from the tradition of cooking Saba, a natural sweetener obtained from the slow cooking of grape must. By pure chance, someone forgot a small quantity of cooked must in a storehouse; it was not enough to make Saba, but they later noticed that it could ferment naturally. From that mistake, a production technique was developed that is still used today and relished by people all over the world.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO is most distinguished by the patience and dedication of the artisans who produce it and who guard its secrets, passing them on only to their descendants. Each set of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar PDO reveals an entire family’s history, passion and love; just consider that in the past it was bequeathed in wills and offered as a dowry for aristocratic brides.
Modena and its surroundings
The city of Modena is located in Emilia Romagna, in the beating heart of central Italy.
An abundance of architectural heritage reveals the splendour of a city that was once the capital of the Estense Duchy (ref. 1598) and which has also been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Modena is also distinguished by its cuisine and typical food and wine specialities. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO stands out above all else; the process begins with typical Modena-grown grapes, Trebbiano and Lambrusco in particular. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO, which is exported to more than 100 countries, should be considered an ambassador of excellence of the Italian agri-food sector throughout the world.
A past that is rich in history,a high-quality present,a future made of tradition
History and tradition blend and merge throughout the centuries-old life of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO.
From a past that is rich in history to a present steeped in high-quality and treasured in the memories of about 100 producers, moving towards a future made of tradition that began in 2000 after the European Union awarded the product the PDO seal (Protected Designation of Origin).