Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO is a noble product that has its roots in the 1400s and is obtained from only two ingredients: cooked grape must and time. As per the PDO guidelines (the coveted Protected Designation of Origin certification), the time the product is required to stay inside the battery or set of barrels is closely regulated by a routine racking and refilling process. For Traditional Vinegar of Modena PDO, the minimum aging time cannot be less than 12 years. This version produced by Bonini, the “Riserva”, presented in elegant black packaging, has been aged for 25 years.
The slow acidification of grape must begin with the cooking of the must in steel vats, for a minimum of 48 hours. Bonini uses only Trebbiano grapes that provide the balsamic vinegar with a perfect balance between acidity and sweetness of the final product. After cooking, the must is skimmed and the contents are introduced into the “badessa” or the mother barrel, the first step of the set (or battery) of barrels, which usually consists of another 5 to 7 of these. The “badessa” is the only “open” barrel, where oxygen can enter and favor the work carried out by the “vinegar bacteria”. Other very old 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? Acetic fermentation is a process in which sugars turn into alcohol and, after a long period of time, the caramelization of sugars: balsamic vinegar is the final result of this process. From the largest barrel to the smallest barrel, the vinegar is racked and refilled: each barrel will keep at least a third of the liquid inside, which will then pass on to the next (and smaller) barrel. The most important variable is precisely this third, which remains at the bottom of each barrel. These “leftovers” contain product particles that date back to the very first set of barrels, ancestral umami and witness every generation that takes on the burden and responsibility of looking after the barrels.
Crystallized particles in the walls of the barrels can date back as far as 50 years ago and this is precisely the secret of each balsamic vinegar producer: the ability to preserve this “sediment”, which 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 25 years
Format: 100 ml