A short list that describes the process to make this famous Modenese product
Among the most recognizable products in the world, we find one from Modena: traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena PDO. It was created from local tradition, but not everyone knows how it’s made. In this article, I would like to talk exclusively about this product, explaining all that goes into the creation of traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena PDO. As a protected denomination of origin, it is necessary that all of the phases of production come from the province of Modena. Traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena PDO has to be a dark brown color and shiny. It is made in the attics where seasonal temperature changes alternate between hot and cold.
Figure – production of traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena PDO
The grape has to be produced in the province of Modena without exceeding 160 quintals per hectare to guarantee the same quality. The following varieties can be used: Lambrusco (all varieties), Ancellotta, Trebbiano, (all varieties), Sauvignon, Sgavetta, Berzemino, and Occhio di Gatta
2-Fresh grape must
The must is obtained by crushing the grapes naturally without the use of additives. The grape pressing has to be soft and must not exceed 70% of the must/grapes to obtain only prime must, which has a clean and pleasant taste.
The must is then transferred to typical cooking pots where it slowly cooks at 80 degrees Celsius, concentrating and forming the its typical brown color. This is how cooked must is made. In this phase, the foaming process strains out all of the impurities. If you want to know more about cooked must: cooked must
In this phase, the vinegar production master pours the cooked must into carboys. The naturally present yeasts in the production facility start the alcoholic fermentation process and sugar transforms into alcohol. This is how base wine is made. Fermentation is monitored to avoid become too turbulent, which could create undesired flavors.
The vinegar artisan then begins the most difficult phase during the winter and springtime. The base wine is poured in wooden barrels called mother barrels, where the base wine is mixed with at least a third of traditional aged balsamic vinegar from Modena PDOand rich in vinegar bacteria. Fermentation from alcohol to vinegar takes place and a vinegar base is obtained.
Only when the product has reached the right acidity, typically after one or two years, can it pass to wooden casks. The casks must be made from different types of wood and in different sizes in an orderly fashion. During the winter and springtime, the vinegar is poured together replenish the level of the product in the barrels that evaporate during the summer. Refilling starts with the smallest barrel with that of the larger barrel nearby and continues with larger barrels. In the end the largest barrel is refilled with base vinegar originating from the mother barrels. The barrels do not ever have to be refilled more that ¾ to guarantee the best contact with air.
The product obtained produced is brought to the (Consorzio di Tutela) Consortium of Protection who controls in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Modena that manages the taste testing. The product is authenticated, and if it is valued suitable, it is bottled directly from the consortium.
8- The bottle
The final product has to be sold in the traditional 100ml bottle created by the famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. The bottle is numbered, authenticated and guaranteed with the maximum quality. The guidelines establish two products, one aged between 12 and 24 years, and one called extra-aged with more than 25 years.
Our two products are available in this link: Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena PDO and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena extra-aged.