Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Posted on 23 February 2016

Family is the heart and soul of De Nigris.

The production of traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena is a craft involving many families in the vinegar world, including the DeNigris family.

italian countryside with grapes

If you have been lucky enough to experience Italy firsthand or have watched regional travel films that depict the life and traditions of this beautiful country, it will strike you that Italy is steeped in glorious traditions.

One of these glorious traditions is the making of traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena. Simply put, traditional balsamic vinegar is the result of gradual fermentation. Traditional balsamic vinegars of Modena are marketed exclusively with a guarantee seal to indicate 12 (white standard) and 25 (gold standard) years of aging. To possess the seal is an honor.

According to the gradual fermentation procedure, the grape must is mostly obtained from Lambusco and Trebbiano wine harvested from the Modena hills and is cooked over an open flame to create a 30%-70% volume reduction. That’s quite a range, isn’t it? Reduction depends on the chemical composition of the grape, its level of maturity, and “the management of the vinegar room.”

These “vinegar rooms” are well-ventilated areas that are temperature controlled. In the summer, they are kept hot to activate the microbial and enzymatic reactions. In the winter, these rooms are chilled to “favor the development of fragrance and clarification process.” Think barrels with carefully chosen woods to reflect color stabilization and aromas for the balsamic vinegars. As the aging years go by, evaporation is carefully monitored by adding back cooked musts, blending of vinegars, and an extremely accurate and punctual task of ensuring that the blending is properly followingly strict procedures in the barrel sequence to keep volumes at the initial level.

After a minimum of 12 years of careful upkeep and tending, the finished product is dense, dark and syrupy, with “an elegant and singular fragrance.” It is ready to be shared.

The gradual fermentation of high-quality grapes creates the magic. Like a beautiful bottle of wine, traditional balsamic vinegars of Modena should be savored, honored and thoroughly enjoyed.

Eat well, my friends.

by The Women Bloggers member Lyndi Fultz, nwafoodie