Production techniques for balsamic vinegar
The different production methods of balsamic vinegar are the French, the Luxembourg and the Italian. This last one is obtained by simmering the must at low temperature for about 36 hours at open vase.
Later the concentrate undergoes sugary fermentation without addiction of other substances unless the graft of bacteria colonies named “Mother”.
The acetify process takes place in barrels made of oak, chestnut, ash, cherry, mulberry set in a series of 5-6 with progressively smaller dimensions; the best results are obtained with oak wood.
After some years of ageing, up to 5 or 6 for the best products, starts in the cold season the operation of “rincalzo”: from the smallest barrel a small quantity of ripe vinegar is substituted with vinegar coming from the preceding barrel of the set until some vinegar from the biggest barrel is substituted with the warm must of the current year.
The vinegar room is located usually in the garret to have the right temperature, warm in summer and cold in winter, that aids the maturation, the refinement and the ageing of the product.
Rovere (Oak), Castagno (Chestnut), Ciliegio (Cherry), Gelso (Mulberry), Frassino (Ash), Ginepro (Juniper)
It’s not clear when balsamic vinegar was made first; maybe from a tiny quantity of cooked grape must forgotten and later found after it had undergone a process of natural acetification that made it sweet and sour. In 1700 vinegar was well known in Europe but wasn’t used in cookery but for it’s medicinal properties.
In 1796 Duke of Modena Ercole III’s “acetaie” (vinegar production rooms) were sold on a public auction. Luckily not all the contents were sold and later, May the 3rd 1859, the acetaia was visited by the new king Vittorio Emanuele II and prime minister Camillo Benso earl of Cavour. The 24 of August of the same year the prime minister ordered to select the best barrels and transfer them to the castle of Moncalieri.
The poor technical knowledge of people from Piemonte, the region where Moncalieri lies, about how to produce and preserve this product brought to the complete loss of this patrimony but luckily the tradition of balsamic vinegar has been handed down by the families living in Modena to obtain the noble product that is nowadays world famous.