To produce the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes are needed, cultivated in the hilly areas of the provinces of Modena.
The production goes through three phases:
- First phase after pressing the grapes, the raw must obtained is boiled. 1 ton of grapes gives around 70 liters of must, which is slowly cooked in copper or steel pots. Cooking takes place in open-air, in the yard, for several hours and at a temperature of about 80 ° , to reach the desired sugar concentration. During this step the must concentrates through slow evaporation, becoming dense in terms of sugar – glucose and fructose percentages. After cooking, which lasts about 10/12 hours, nearly 30 liters of must are obtained.
- Second phase,alcoholic fermentation and natural acidification of cooked must (bio-oxidation) :At an outside temperature of about 20 °, cooked must starts its natural fermentation.
the must is liquid and contains a high sugar percentage, ideal to trigger fermentation and acetic processes thanks to the presence of microorganisms called yeast and acetic bacteria.
The typical scents and aromas of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena originate in this phase through two slow must transformations occurring firstly in glass jugs or in steel containers (alcoholic fermentation) and only in a second time in wooden barrels (acetic oxidation) where acetobacteria live. These acetobacteria are the main protagonists of the slow maturation and transformation of must into traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena
- Third Phase aging Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena ages in a series of progressive casks made of different woods (mulberry, oak, cherry, chestnut, juniper, ash), where each of these woods gives vinegar a special aroma.
During the first 12 years of aging, it is necessary to maintain constant the vinegar level inside the barrels (about 2/3 of their capacity) and top up every barrel with the content of the next preceding cask. Only in the 13th year the first withdrawal can be carried out.
Only after an aging period of 12 or 25 years, balsamic vinegar gets that excellent balance of flavors and aromas that deserves the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)