The raw materials of Balsamic Vinegar, from which the ingredients used for the production of black gold are derived, are distinguished both for their quantity and, above all, for the very high quality resulting from a well regulated selection process. Let’s see everything there is to know about it.
To better understand the importance of the raw materials of Balsamic Vinegar, we must first understand the various types. There are mainly two types of Balsamic Vinegar, Traditional DOP and IGP, both linked to a very long tradition and with production regulations – for Traditional DOP very strict – in order to bring products of the highest quality to our tables always. Obviously, these rules also involve the choice of Balsamic Vinegar ingredients.
The raw materials that can be used in the production of this culinary product so loved and exported in the world are few and carefully regulated by the reference consortia.
So let’s see how and why.
Ingredients and raw materials of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DOP and IGP
For all Traditional DOP and IGP products there are legal documents that all producers who want to use a certain certification are obliged to respect certain rules in the production of their product. These documents are called “disciplinary” and, of course, also include the choice of ingredients.
As far as Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DOP is concerned, both from Modena and Reggio Emilia (the only two different recognized types of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DOP), must make use of grapes coming only from the provinces of reference (Modena or Reggio Emilia), whose production in the vineyard does not exceed 160 quintals per hectare and ensuring the must at least 15 degrees saccharometric. Moreover, no other ingredient is added to the grape must.
As far as Balsamic Vinegar IGP is concerned, the addition of other substances such as caramel and 150d and vinegar aged for at least 10 years is allowed.
As you can see there are therefore some differences between the various consortia and for this reason we suggest you read our article on the difference between Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DOP and IGP.
Types of vineyards
Not all grapes are allowed in the production of Balsamic Vinegar, but only those coming from carefully selected vineyards linked to tradition:
- Occhio di gatta
There is, however, a substantial difference between the two types of DOP and IGP: as far as the DOP is concerned, the vineyard must necessarily be located in the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia, as well as all subsequent production phases, while when it comes to Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP the phases that must take place in the geographical area of origin are the assembly of raw materials, processing, aging and / or aging in wooden barrels, but there are no geographical restrictions on the origin of the grapes.
The characteristics of the territory
As we have seen, the bond between Balsamic Vinegar and the Emilian land is very strong. Here was born centuries and centuries ago the tradition of Balsamic Vinegar, in medieval times according to some, according to others even at the time of the Roman Empire.
On the other hand, such a product could only be created in this land, rich in ancient rural knowledge, love for the land and good food.
Obviously climatic factors have favored the production of a unique product such as Balsamic Vinegar: the semi-continental climate conditioned by the proximity of the Adriatic Sea favors the cultivation of traditional vineyards, perfectly exploited by the people who live and have inhabited these magnificent lands. Moreover, even more important, the climate of the Emilian territory, characterized by harsh winters and sultry summers, is the perfect combination for the acetification of Balsamic Vinegar.
If you want to know more about the production of what many people call Black Gold, we invite you to read our article about it or “Balsamic Vinegars: Tradition, Technology, Trade”, an excellent book that explains in detail all the secrets of Balsamic Vinegar production in all its variants.