BALSAMIC VINEGAR OF MODENA: AN ANCIENT STORY
The Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is one of the oldest and without doubt, the most typical product of the agricultural food industry in the province of Modena. The practice of cooking the must of grapes can be traced back to the ancient Romans: the so called sapum was used both as a medicinal product and in the kitchen as a sweetener and condiment. Starting in the 11th century, the production of this very particular vinegar was linked with Modena: over time it would become synonymous of the culture and history of a territory that is unique for its pedoclimatic characteristics and its human knowledge and talent. In 2009 the European Commission inserted the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena designation in the register of IGP productions.
The art of Balsamic Vinegar production
The Balsamic Vinegar of Modena can only be produced in the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia where there is an abundance of grapes with just the right concentration of sugars and acidity. This area has a typical semi-continental climate tempered by the influence of the nearby Adriatic sea: these conditions favour the development of the native acetic flora which determines the maturation and the ageing process of the Balsamic Vinegar. Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is produced from grape must (usually Lambrusco or Trebbiano varieties)
The production of Balsamic Vinegar begins with the cooking of the must in "direct and open pot" to reduce its volume by 50%. At this point it is stored in vats where fermentation begins which transforms sugars into alcohol. After reaching an alcoholic content of 6/7 °, vinegar colonies are added which promote acetic oxidation. In this way the base will be prepared which will be used to fill the battery with barrels made of different woods, each of which gives the product its characteristics
Once a year the Vinegar is bottled from the smallest cask in the sequence. The Vinegar gets thicker and more concentrated as it ages because of evaporation that occurs through the walls of the barrels the vinegar the smallest barrel will be much thicker and more syrupy than the liquid in the successively larger barrels. Only after an aging period of 12 years, Balsamic Vinegar gets that excellent balance of flavors and aromas that deserves the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin)