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Balsamic Vinegar Tradizionale (with PDO seal)

With Balsamic Vinegar Tradizionale PDO you buy the best quality of balsamic vinegar. An unmistakable taste due to the 12 or 25 year long aging in high-quality wooden barrels. An unmatched Italian specialty from the city of Modena.

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Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale PDO

Italian balsamic vinegar called Aceto Balsamico PDO is also called Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale , the abbreviation is ABT. It is an Italian specialty of the highest quality and with a protected designation of origin. This can be seen from the PDO seal: “DOP” stands for “Denominazione d'Origine Protetta”, the Italian equivalent for “protected designation of origin”.

It is not without reason that the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is one of those specialties that are most imitated worldwide .

In order to benefit from the seal of approval, the intended balsamic vinegar may only be obtained from the cooked must of grapes from the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia in northeastern Italy ,

Balsamic PDO must be produced, expanded and bottled using the traditional process.

Characteristics of the Balsamico Tradizionale PDO

Aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar) Tradizionale with PDO seal:

  • may only be obtained from the must of grapes, no additives are allowed. The main varieties are Lambrusco and Trebbiano.
  • must mature in wooden barrels for at least 12 years ; for balsamic PDO with the addition “ extravecchio ” (“very old”) there is a minimum maturation period of 25 years . The ripening process takes place in the vinegar factories in the area of origin.
  • may only be filled into the special 100 ml vials and only by authorized filling companies.
  • must be reviewed by a panel of specialist tasters. This also decides on the award of the seal.

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale can always be recognized by the numbered PDO seal . The logo of the authorized filling company and that of the producer appear on this.

The vinegar factories

Balsamic vinegar with the PDO seal of approval is traditionally produced in vinegar factories near the Italian city of Modena .

The best conditions for the long manufacturing and ripening process that the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale goes through are there. Originally , Modena's vinegar factories and the surrounding villages were located on the top floors of noble palaces, so-called “tasèl”, because the production of balsamic vinegar was reserved for members of noble families until the 19th century.

Over the past 200 years, however, vinegar production gradually found its way into non-noble households, where it was initially operated for its own consumption. The fact that the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is produced in attics is a key factor in the production of balsamic vinegar: with the large temperature differences that prevail there, they offer optimal results both between day and night and over the course of the seasons Requirements for the production of high quality balsamic vinegar.

☝ Our tip: If you are in Modena, Reggio Emilia or the surrounding area during a trip to Italy, then take the opportunity to visit one of the numerous vinegar manufacturers on site. Many of them offer visitors the opportunity to try delicious recipes with balsamic vinegar.

Maturation in wooden barrels

Balsamic vinegar is matured in a system of five or more wooden barrels , the number of which is always odd and the individual barrels each have a different capacity.

There is no clear explanation for the odd number - but that's the tradition. The minimum number of five barrels, however, results from the fact that barrels made from (at least five) different types of wood must be used when expanding the balsamic vinegar.

According to the PDO regulations, the barrels should consist of fine types of wood from the region , in which the balsamic vinegar is also produced. In reality, however, mainly oak and chestnut wood is used for the barrels: three quarters of all wooden barrels in which the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale matures consist of the wood of these two tree types. Other types permitted under the PDO regulation are:

  • Mulberry
  • Cherry tree
  • Juniper
  • Ash tree
  • Locust-tree

Basically, the barrels are not in the basement, but in - preferably not insulated - attics. As already mentioned, the latter are the ideal place for the production and maturation of traditional balsamic vinegar due to the large seasonal temperature fluctuations there.

Balsamico ABTM and Balsamico ABTRE

The first three letters of the abbreviations above - ABT - stand for "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale". If this balsamic vinegar, which is produced using traditional methods, comes from the city or the surrounding province of Modena with the same name, it bears the short name ABTM - the "M" stands for Modena .

If, on the other hand, it was manufactured in the city or the surrounding province of the same name, Reggio Emilia, it receives the abbreviation ABTRE - "RE" stands for Reggio Emilia .

The process of converting the grape must is almost identical in both cases; As a minimum ripening time , 12 months are required for both PDO vinegars. Nevertheless, there are minimal differences between the balsamic vinegars of both denominations of origin. They mainly concern:

  • the cooking process of the grape must,
  • the acidity of the balsamic vinegar,
  • the - measured in grams per liter (g / l) - density,
  • the shape of the bottles,
  • the labels or stickers, the color of which indicates the quality level of the respective balsamic vinegar (see table below), and
  • the control bodies.

The quality levels - readable on the label

There are different quality levels for both balsamic vinegars with a PDO seal - Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (ABTM) and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia (ABTRE).

The quality of a balsamic vinegar is determined by professional tasters . These rate each balsamic vinegar using a point scale that ranges from 229 to 400 points. All balsamic vinegars that we offer in our shop have a seal of approval.