How Is Authentic Balsamic Vinegar Made?
Note: All truly authentic balsamic MUST come from Modena, Italy with an age standard of at least 12-18 years.
All traditional balsamic vinegar begins with grape must --- whole pressed grapes complete with juice, skin, seeds, and stems. The must from sweet white locally grown and late-harvested grapes, usually Trebbiano and Lambrusco varieties is cooked over a direct flame until concentrated by roughly half. Then the concentrate is left to ferment naturally for up to three weeks, then matured, and further concentrated for a minimum of 12 years in a "Batteria"of five or more successively smaller aging barrels. The barrels are made of a variety of woods such as Oak, Chestnut, Cherry, Juniper, and Mulberry, so that the vinegar may take on the complex flavors of the casks. Once a year, the vinegar is bottled from the smallest cask in the sequence. Each cask is then topped off with the vinegar from the cask up, with the largest cask getting filled with the new yield. None of these casks are completely drained. This aging process is similar to the "Solera" process used for fine Sherries, Ports, Sweet Wines, and Spanish Brandies. The vinegar gets thicker and more concentrated as it ages because of the evaporation that occurs through the walls of the barrels. The vinegar in the smallest barrel will be much thicker and more syrupy than the liquid in the successively larger barrels.
The dark, aged 25 Star Balsamic Vinegar at the Olive Oil Pantry is made from a blend of mostly Trebbiano grapes, and a small amount of Lambrusco grapes. We have a blend of 12 to 18 year old balsamic to achieve the most reasonable sales price, while retaining the best possible quality of thickness, low acidity, sweetness, and flavor of what is usually described as raisins or figs. The aged 25 Star White Balsamic Vinegar is produced with the same supplier as the 25 Star Dark Balsamic Vinegar, and contains the same blend of grapes. The skins from the grapes are removed before the balsamic process begins and the aging process is only 4-6 years, which produces a lovely, light "Champagne" color in comparison to the 25 Star Dark. Both the white and dark balsamic vinegar come from Modena, Italy. The vinegar is then transported to Riverside, CA where we then add pure fruit, or other concentrates, such as garlic, to produce exciting flavors to be used on your delicious food to enjoy. Once infused, the vinegar is sent to us to be packaged fresh for you to use! Personalize and style your cooking with The Pantry, and make cooking effortless and fun again.
THANK YOU for your interest in our fine Balsamic Vinegars and Extra Virgin Olive Oil products at The Olive Oil Pantry #2; your patronage is very much appreciated.
Aside from our imported goods, we also carry many local products to Livermore, the Central Valley, and California.