Italian Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar originated in Modena, Italy during the Middle Ages as a reduction of cooked grape must. During the Renaissance, it was highly favored by gourmet chefs, and has since become one of Italy's most cherished exports.
Most affordable balsamic vinegars are made from a combination of grape must and wine vinegar. Grape must is made from all parts of the pressed grape, the skin, the pulp and the juice. This product is cooked down to a rich and intense consistency and then fermented and aged in wood barrels. The most expensive balsamic vinegars are 100% must and aged for up to 100 years! These extremely expensive vinegars are tightly controlled by an Italian oversight body to ensure quality and to prevent over production. But by blending the grape must with wine vinegar, producers are able to create something yummy for all of us that we can afford to use every day.
A wide variety of flavor profiles can be created by modifying different parts of the balsamic production process, such as how much grape must vs wine vinegar is used, what type of wood barrels are the products aged in and how long are they aged, and even what grapes are used and how are they grown. We purchase directly from a family owned and operated producer in Modena, Italy specifically chosen because we love the choices they have made. First, they grow their own grapes; thus we are ensured of the consistency and quality of the raw material. Second, they use Slovenian oak barrels that have been handed down through the family resulting in lots of character and flavor. They also age both the must and the wine vinegar to ensure that there is minimal reduction in flavor when the wine vinegar is added. Finally, they use the highest quantity of grape must relative to wine vinegar, up to 75%! This creates amazing sweetness and flavor of the grape as well as very high viscosity and wonderful mouth feel.
We use this base for all of our dark flavored products. The intensity of the base will result in more subtlety of the flavors, but let it spread over your tongue and you will definitely detect what you are looking for.
Our white balsamic vinegar is created by the same producer with the same high quality and quantity of grape must. Filtering is used to pull out the sources of color such as the skin of the grape. Cooking is done to minimize caramelization and aging is done in barrels that do not impart color to the product. The result is wonderfully thick and sweet product with lots of fruit character, but lighter color and mellower overall experience.
We use this base for our flavored white balsamics. These products will sing out with flavor intensity to take all of your salads to a new level!