Our traditional 6-year aged Balsamic Vinegar (Aceto Balsamico in Italian) is made using the age-old method and ingredients in Modena, Italy. Trebbiano and Lambrusca grapes are handpicked, crushed, and cooked over an open flame into grape-must, then aged in a series of wooden barrels.
Taste: The flavors come from many different points in the journey: the grapes, the cooking process, the wooden barrels, and even the culture in the each barrel, which slowly converts the fruit sugars into vinegar. This balsamic is dark, as thick as maple syrup, and exhibits flavors of dates, plums, smoke, and wood, with a touch of acidity to create a complexity that lingers on the palate.
How It's Made: The process of aging Aceto Balsamico is much more complex than that of wine, and is accomplished in a series of wooden barrels is called a batteria, which decrease in size from 75 to 10 liters. Each year, about 20% of the product evaporates from each barrel, making the product increasingly dense. Once a year, the most-aged product is removed from the smallest barrel for bottling. This barrel is then topped off with balsamic from the second-smallest barrel, the second-smallest is filled with balsamic from the third, etc. In this way, the balsamic spends one year in each barrel, and mixes with the balsamic that lingers from the year before, developing complexity.
This Aceto Balsamico is aged 6 years. By using a 6 year process we are able to offer a Balsamic at a reasonable price, while still retaining the classic qualities of a true Aceto Balsamico without the excessive woodiness of a 12- or 24-year old production.
DOP Production: This strictly controlled designation is reserved for the highest quality Balsamico that have aged for at least 12 years, and have gone through a lengthy certification process. Our Balsamico is part of this production, but removed at 6 years. It has the same grapes, same barrels, and same Master Acetoio monitoring the production.
Quick Uses & Ideas:
- Drizzle onto Parmesan cheese (or any sharp, aged cheese - staff favorite is Gouda) or over gorgonzola and walnuts
- Top over fresh pasta dishes, ravioli, or risotto
- Use as a glaze to finish on grilled meats or roasted butternut squash
- For desserts of all sorts - drizzle onto panna cotta or gelato
- Make a simple dessert of sliced strawberries, balsamico and just a touch of fresh cracked pepper!
- Sometimes, we sneak it by the spoonful by itself!