Here’s a little mini-lesson on Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale – the “REAL” balsamic vinegar…
- Start with the juice of the Trebbiano grape (Lambrusco can be added).
- The juice is cooked until reduced by half. This reduction is called saba. It is also sold as a condiment.
- The saba then ferments and naturally acidifies as it proceeds through a batteria of barrels from large to small, Usually 5-7 or more barrels.
- This is similar to the solar system for Sherry in Jerez.
- A variety of woods and sizes of barrels are used. The barrels are never filled completely to allow oxygen contact.
- The distinct flavor and viscous consistency develops as the liquid evaporates and ages.
- The barrel recipe is usually proprietary, and barrels can be family heirlooms.
- The real balsamic has DOP status. and is regulated by the Consorzio Produttori di Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, founded in 1967.