How is Balsamic Vinegar of Modena made?

Batteria of Barrels for aging the Family Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is made by barrel-aging boiled grapefruit for a long time. Our Family Balsamic is aged over 20 years.

The ingredients to make authentic Balsamic Vinegar of Modena are only four:

Must (the actual name of boiled grape juice), a series of wooden barrels, a lot of time… and Modena.

Yes, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena has to be produced in Modena, Italy. Not only because it just makes sense, but also because the specific climate of the area (hot and humid summers, moderately cold wet winters) contribute to the aging process of the Balsamic Vinegar.

The must is made with juice of grapes from local varieties of the Province of Modena, like Lambrusco or Trebbiano, which is then cooked for 12 to 24 hours in large pots. The must should be cooked at a temperature below 200F to prevent it from boiling, which could burn it and ruin the taste.

The must is then stored in large wooden casks, the Badessa(s). The natural occurring yeasts converts some of the sugar of the must into alcohol, then transformed into vinegar by bacteria. Once this initial process is complete, which usually takes about a year, the vinegar can be moved to a series of wooden barrels, collectively called “batteria” (battery), for the aging process. The batteria is stored in the attics of Modena, where the summer temperature is very hot, and winter is cold and very humid. The aging then happens over the course of multiple years with a Solera process.

Our batteries are made of 6 barrels each of different woods, including oak, chestnut, acacia, cherry, mulberry, juniper. The vinegar follows its maturation process starting from the largest through each barrel of the battery in descending order. The finished Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is pulled once a year from the smallest barrel, when you start the “travasi” to siphon a portion of liquid from the next largest barrel in line. Each barrel is then refilled, and the largest barrel is topped with the content of the Badessa.

Oxygen plays a fundamental part in the aging process, so barrels are only filled to around three quarters of their capacity. Openings on top of the casks guarantee the airflow necessary to the oxidation process, while a piece of cheesecloth and a loose fitting stone or slab of wood prevent flies and other unwanted visitors from ruining the party.

Family Balsamic is aged over 20 years, also meaning that more than 20 travasi happened, guaranteeing its delicious, distinguished and unique flavor.

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