Late summer and early fall marks harvest time for our balsamic vinegar producers in Modena. Acetaia Leonardi has been producing balsamic vinegar since the mid-1800s. They source all their grapes from their own vineyards and control every step in producing their balsamic vinegar.
The journey of traditional balsamic vinegar, from harvest to bottle, is a meticulous process that transforms grapes into the liquid gold that graces tables around the world. Here’s how it’s done:
🍇 The Grapes: It all begins with the grapes. The choicest varieties, typically Trebbiano and Lambrusco, are selected and hand harvested in late summer when they are at their ripest. They are gently crushed to extract their juice, known as "must," which will become the foundation for the vinegar's complex flavors.
🍇 Cooking the Must: The must is carefully simmered over an open flame, condensing and concentrating its natural sugars until it transforms into a thick, sweet syrup.
🍇 Aging in Wooden Barrels: The syrup is transferred to a series of wooden barrels of varying sizes, made from precious woods like oak, chestnut, cherry, and juniper. Each wood imparts unique nuances to the vinegar, contributing to its intricate flavor profile. Over the years, the vinegar is moved from barrel to barrel, a journey that can span decades.
🍇 Bottling: The moment of bottling is a culmination of patience and craftsmanship. Only when the vinegar has reached perfection is it carefully bottled into the distinctive glass vessels that are as elegant as the vinegar itself.
🍇 The Result: What emerges is a velvety elixir, a balance of sweetness and acidity, a rare culinary masterpiece that enhances every dish it touches.
Each drop of traditional balsamic vinegar is a piece of history, a labor of love, and a taste of time itself. Join us in savoring this unique creation, a culinary legacy passed down through generations. Shop our selection of fine, aged balsamic vinegars.