Facts about Traditional Aged Vinegar

Posted by Denise Burkey on

1978 was the year that Williams Sonoma first imported balsamic vinegar commercially to the US.  Soon after it was found in fine restaurants and gourmet good shops all over the US.  Now, over four decades later you can find balsamic vinegar just about everywhere!  Some labeled “balsamic vinegar” bear no relation to the real thing.  Here’s how to choose and appreciate the true flavor of balsamic vinegar.

The History
Italians have been making balsamic vinegar since Roman times.  It was used mainly for medicinal purposes.  Sometimes used as a sweetener or to enhance the savoriness of certain foods.  Production was limited to certain regions and it was kept within regions.  In the 19th Century balsamic vinegar was a crucial part of a young woman’s dowry!

Balsamic is not made from wine but rather from unfiltered juice of freshly crushed white grapes.  Known as must.  The must is boiled down to a syrupy liquid then aged in wooden barrels.  Heat creates the right atmosphere essential for fermentation so barrels were kept in attics rather than wine cellars.  Over time the vinegar is moved between different types of barrels and blended with portions of older vinegars.  This creates the complexity of flavors.  And – AGE MATTERS – the best and most falvorful vinegars are aged the longest.

Buying Balsamic
 You get what you pay for;
READ the label.

True balsamics are given one of two classifications or designations
Traditional DOP

DOP means, denomination of controlled origin while IGP means, protected geographic indication. Both are similarly made both very different in the quality of grapes used for the product. The DOP product is produced in a specific region 100% of the time. While the IGP product is required to be produced with only one phase of the production in the official geographic region. The DOP product uses grapes from a specific geographical region such as Lambrusco, Ancellotta, Trebbiano, Sgavetta, Sauvignon , Berzemino and Occhi di Gatta, which are always produced in that region. While the IGP product can import grapes which makes production cheaper. The DOP product adheres to strict inspection guidelines to ensure the quality of the product. They both begin as wine vinegar but produced in a very different manner.

Best Uses for Balsamic Vinegar
Aged Cheeses
Grilled meats, fish, vegetables, onions, rosemary and fruit.

We offer four balsamic vinegars with the IGP designation.  Stop in and Taste Before You Buy.

Aceto Balsamico di Famiglia – aged 25 years
Aceto Balsamico Maletti – aged for 15 years
Aceto Balsamico Platinum – aged for 3 years
Aceto Balsamico Gold

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