A work of art made by man and nature
Every drop is a true gem
An area inspiring poets, artists and gourmets
A panacea for the palate
A family asset
Grapes: the source of it all
Flavour on top
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Reggio Emilia
Every drop of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Reggio Emilia has a long, packed history: 12 years of care and dedication in barrels, up in the attic.
Acetaia Venturini Baldini
Calmly, skilfully: this sums up how Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Reggio Emilia is made.
The specialists say “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Reggio Emilia is made by the fermentation of sugar and the acetic browning of boiled grape must, in turn made by pressing grapes grown in the province of Reggio Emilia”.
In practical terms, the grapes are pressed and put into vats. As soon as the seeds and stalks float to the surface, the must is drawn off, filtered and boiled over low heat. It is then stored in tanks where the vinegar starts to ferment with the coming of the warm weather, converting the sugar into alcohol. Once the alcohol content has reached 6 or 7 degrees, colonies of acetic acid bacteria are added to help the acetic browning process.
This is how the base vinegar is prepared, which is used to fill barrels made of different types of wood that will give the Balsamic vinegar its exceptional personality during the long aging phase.
Each type of wood lends its own special note: tannin-rich chestnut helps to enhance its characteristic dark colour; cherry wood sweetens its flavour; mulberry makes it more concentrated; the strong resins of juniper wood enhance its aroma; and oak, generally used for the smaller barrels, adds a final touch of masterly flair.
Different types of wood and barrels in gradually decreasing sizes give stability and intensity to the aroma of Balsamic Vinegar.
There can be up to 20 different barrels that gradually get smaller and smaller. The largest 100-litre barrel contains the boiled must whereas the smallest 10-litre barrel is used for the precious and fragrant outcome of all of this care and attention.
Traditionally, the best place for balsamic vinegar to age and mature is in the eaves or the attic of a house because it will be more exposed here to the extremes in temperature with the changing seasons. As the vinegar ages, it is important to keep topping it up. This is done once a year to make sure the barrel always contains the same amount of vinegar as it did at the start and compensates for the liquid lost through evaporation. Barrels are topped up with vinegar taken from the next barrel up. The skill, experience, nose and palate of the Master Vinegar Maker are essential elements for the success of topping up. His is the task of analysing the complexity of the flavour and aroma of each individual barrel and assessing the level of maturity that will be achieved after topping up from the larger barrel, its characteristics revitalized by the younger vinegar.
The organoleptic specifications of the vinegar have to be assessed by Master Tasters who award Certification and ultimately decide if a vinegar is worthy of being called Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Reggio Emilia.