Regulations dictate that Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena must be bottled in the iconic Giugiaro bottle. However, the history of Acetaia Bonini is characterized by a different and distinctive packaging, which is the only reason the product does not carry the PDO certification. The Bonini Affinato Vinegar is an example of this: the product is aged for 12 years inside the set of barrels, as per the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO, with the only difference being the packaging.
In terms of flavor and viscosity, it is ideal to accompany first courses, as a garnish or, for example, as a finishing touch to a risotto. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is and has always been an ingredient of rare refinement. Traditionally, it was closely associated with the richness and well-being of nobility, since only certain families could afford to have an attic room where balsamic vinegar is typically aged, unlike wine which instead spends its time maturing in cellars. The production of a quality balsamic vinegar consists of only two ingredients: cooked grape must and time.
Bonini uses only cooked must be obtained from Trebbiano grapes, which after cooking is skimmed and introduced into the “badessa” or the mother barrel. This is the first step of the set (or battery) of barrels, which usually consists of another 5 to 7 of these: a careful racking and refilling process of the barrels over the years, with the annual extraction and consequent bottling of the vinegar. Bonini’s barrels are exclusively made of carefully selected oak and acacia wood. During the “aging” process, the scents and aromas of the small barriques will give the vinegar scents of tobacco, wood and slightly smokey notes. The “badessa” is the only “open” barrel, where oxygen can enter and favor the work carried out by the “vinegar bacteria”. Other barrels are connected to the mother barrel, where vinegar bacteria continue to work, feeding on the seasonal temperature changes.
What exactly happens inside the barrels? The alcoholic fermentation of sugars and subsequently the caramelization of the cooked grape must: balsamic vinegar is the final result of this process. Over the years, this black gold makes its way from the largest barrel to the smallest barrel: each of these barrels will keep at least a third of the liquid inside, which will then pass on to the next (and smaller) barrel. This is the most important variable for superior quality vinegar. These “leftovers” contain product particles that date back to the very first set of barrels, ancestral umami of flavor and witness that every generation cyclically passes on to the next.
Some particles can, in fact, date back as far as 60 years ago and this is precisely the secret of each balsamic vinegar producer: like a sourdough starter for breadmakers, the ability to preserve this “sediment” that crystallizes on the walls of the barrels and that will subsequently give complexity and round off the taste of this refined product.
Origin: Modena, ITALY
Type: Balsamic vinegar aged in sets of barrels for at least 12 years
Format: 100 ml