Drizzle Oil and Vinegar

Drizzle Oil and Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Three levels of high quality balsamic vinegar are usually acknowledged: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Balsamic Must, and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, or aceto balsamico tradizionale.

The juice for the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is taken from only noble Trebbiano de Spagna and Lambrusco grapes. The process involves first pressing the grapes before they are cooked over direct fire in large vats. The must is reduced by up to 45 percent in the initial cooking, creating a thick, syrupy liquid.

Fermentation is the next step, and aceto bacteria are added to the must, usually by adding an older aged balsamic vinegar, similar to a bakers habit of adding some sourdough from the previous day to the new batch. Stainless steel vats are used for the fermentation process, before the liquid is moved into large wooden barrels. It is here that flavor and colour from the wood becomes part of the process, as the liquid goes through its metabolic change. Once the initial aging period, sometimes lasting several years, is completed, it begins a maturing process that is unique to balsamic vinegars.

A smaller set of barrels known as acetaia or batteria, are used for the young vinegar. These barrels are made from several different woods, becoming smaller in size. Various woods are used by different manufacturers but tend to include oak (at the beginning and end), acacia, cherry, chestnut, juniper, mulberry, and walnut. To ensure that the vinegar has room to breathe and age correctly, each barrel is only filled to the three quarter level. Naturally, some of the liquid evaporates over time. When this occurs, the smallest barrel is refilled to the three quarter level from vinegar contained in the next barrel size. This process continues  up the line, with the largest barrel being refilled with new vinegar. 

When considered ready, after a period of time within each wood barrel, continuously mixing with new and old vinegar, the vinegar from the smallest barrel is bottled. Years, and even decades, are taken to produce the highest quality balsamic vinegars.

[tag] Modena balsamic[/tag]


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