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Production Method

At the origin of the product

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) is produced from grape must that is fermented and/or cooked and/or concentrated.
The grapes comes only from Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana and Montuni vines.
To the grape must are added wine vinegar, in the minimum amount of 10%, and an amount of at least 10-year-old aged vinegar.

Characteristics of the grape musts

The minimum percentage of grape must is 20% of the total quantity of the product to be sent to processing. The concentration is carried on until the initial mass of must reaches a density no lower than 1.240 at a temperature of 20°C. In addition to coming from the vines listed above, the musts – only the cooked and concentrated ones – must have a minimum total acidity of 8 gr/kg and a minimum net dry extract of 55 gr/kg. Caramel may be added for colour stability, up to a maximum of 2% of the finished product. No other substances may be added.

Acetification and maturation

The processing of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) takes place with the traditional method of acetification through the use of selected bacterial colonies or with the lenta in superficie (slow surface) or lenta “a truciolo” (slow wood shavings) methods. Next comes the maturation phase: acetification and maturation both take place in barrels, vats or casks made from precious woods, such as sessile oak, chestnut, oak, mulberry and juniper. The minimum maturation time is 60 days, counted from the moment in which the raw materials, mixed in the right proportions, are sent to processing. At the end of the maturation period, analytic and organoleptic tests are carried out on the resulting product by a group of expert technicians and tasters: these tests must be successful for the product be certified as Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena).

Organoleptic Aspects

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) vs wine vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) differs from wine vinegar in the balanced composition of its constituent elements. Its physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics are combined in a unique way; in addition, it has a higher content of extractive substances and volatile compounds. This is why there must be a careful choice of the grapes that give Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) its unmistakable aroma. PGI specifications require that the cooked or concentrated grape must shall come from only seven varietals, all typical of the Modena and Reggio Emilia area: Lambrusco, Trebbiano, Sangiovese, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana, and Montuni.

Distinctive characteristics

The Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) designation is reserved for vinegars with the following characteristics:

  • clear and brilliant appearance;

  • brown and intense colour;

  • bitter-sweet and balanced flavour;

  • slightly acetic and delicate aroma, persistent, with woody overtones;

  • density of the matured product no lower than 1.06 at a temperature of 20°C;

  • actual alcohol strength no more than 1.5% by volume

  • total acidity no less than 6%;

  • total sulphur anhydride: no more than 100 mg/litre;

  • ash: no less than 2.5 per thousand;

  • net dry extract: no less than 30 gr/litre;

  • reducing sugars: no less than 110 gr/litre.

Classification according to ageing

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) marketed with the above characteristics can be further distinguished into two types, based on the ageing period. It is simply called Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) when the ageing period is less than three years (with a minimum of 60 days). When, on the other hand, the ageing period is longer than three years, the designation Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Aged (Aceto Balsamico di Modena Invecchiato) is used.

One set of specifications, different vinegars

Because of the different production processes and ingredients used, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) is sold with characteristics that can vary greatly. If Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) has been aged for more than three years, it results in an excellent condiment for cooked vegetables and meats.

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