Mandarano Balsamic Glaze
Sauce uses as its base a four-hundred year old Modenese
Only in the Emilia-Romania region
of Italy and specifically
the area in and around Modena can this coveted vinegar be
found. More amazing is how its unique process and family
tradition has been handed down from generation to generation
since the 11th century.
Every phase of the process is carefully monitored in order
to preserve its heritage; the family's grapes are carefully
nurtured and grown without pesticides. These high standards,
combined with the quality of the vinegar, result in an
excellent tasting Balsamic Glaze
Like wine making, the production of Balsamic vinegar is an
art form. It is made from combining mainly Trebbiano and
Lambrusco grapes found in the rich soil around Modena. The
ripest, sweetest grapes are picked late in the season and
pressed. The grapes are cooked very slowly until the water
content is reduced and the resulting "must" is placed into
barrels. An older Balsamic vinegar is added to assist in the acetification (the process of converting, or of becoming
converted, into vinegar). Each year the vinegar is
transferred to different barrels so that the vinegar can
obtain some of the flavors of the different woods.
As the fermentation process continues, the vinegar
evaporates and thickens. The vinegar matures through cold
winters and hot summers and in the process develops and
refines its unique flavor and scent.
Balsamic vinegar is divided into several categories
determined by age and quality (the art form previously
mentioned). But before we get into the different grades and categories,
first let me say that the $4.00 to $7.00 bottle of
"Balsamic" sold at your local supermarket tastes nothing at
all like the real Authentic-aged Balsamic you're about to
Mentioned above - which is usually not
aged at all.
Artisan Grade. Produced in a thriving cottage industry based
in and around Modena, these Balsamic vinegars are of
excellent value in both price and taste and range in age
from 3 to 5 years at a typical price of $12.00 to $20.00.
Artisan Grade II. A second level of higher quality is
offered by a few quality producers with ages of up to 6 to
15 years. These higher grades of Balsamic have a price range
of $25 to $50 per bottle.
Traditional Balsamic of Modena. Lastly we have the highly
prized Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, a registered
trademark of the official Modena Consortium of Balsamic
Vinegar producers who operate under strict regulations and
controls to guarantee the highest level of quality.
Traditional must be aged at least 12 years (average price
for 3.38 oz is $80) and Traditional Extra Vecchio can only
be called so after ageing a minimum of 25 years (average
price for 3.38 oz is $180). You will know it is the official
Traditional Balsamic because it only comes in a unique and
specially designed bottle. This bottle was designed in 1987
by Giorgetto Giugiaro founder of Italdesign.
Ultimately, it is the taste, not the age, that determines
the quality of a vinegar.