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Author Topic: "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena"(Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena)  (Read 2258 times)


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One of our favorite wineries in the Napa region is The Terraces Winery.  It is a very small, family owned winery in St Helena. We have been members for over 10 years and one of our favorite events is attending one of their yearly wine luncheons.  The owner/winemaker Timm Crull, is also quite a chef.  He prepares the four course meal in the kitchen of a home on the winery property. The lunch is served on a covered porch of the house, overlooking the estate Cabernet vineyard.

Along with making wine, Timm makes balsamic vinegar in the traditional Modena style.  This is not your normal store bought balsamic vinegar.  Traditional Modena style balsamic vinegar is protected and regulated by the European Union.  It is said when you make traditional Modena balsamic vinegar, your making it for your children because it takes decades to make.  It requires a minimum aging of 12 years in multiple batteries of 6 different wood casks. A red label designates 12 year balsamic, a silver label designates 18 year old balsamic and a gold label designates 25 year old balsamic.  Each cask is constructed of a different type of wood and varying sizes.  The casks are made of chestnut, cherry,oak, mulberry, ash and juniper.  Timm had to travel to Modena to purchase  his casks over 20 years ago.  The casks of balsamic vinegar are stored in an old stone building on the property. The building is over 125 years old and is constructed of Rhyolite stone, sourced from the property when there was a working rock quarry on the property.

The casks have small square openings (3"x 3"), covered with towels to keep insects out.  About 20% of each cask evaporates every year and is topped off with balsamic from other casks.  Over the years, the balsamic is rotated through the barrels, spending time in all of the different wood casks. This is just one side of the room. Another battery of casks is on the other side of the stone room.

We were treated to a balsamic tasting in a traditional style.  A drop of balsamic is removed from the cask with a "balsamic thief" and then placed on the web of one's hand for the tasting. The concentrated flavors of this balsamic was amazing.  Nothing like retail balsamic I can tell you that.

Bringing this story full circle, Timm used some of his 22 year old balsamic vinegar on the desert course.  It was drizzled over vanilla ice cream with mixed berries. 

« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 12:35:31 PM by Cellar2ful »
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Wow thatís really interesting! Thanks for the history lesson

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You sir, know how to live!
It's the iconic symbol for the backyard. It's family/friends, food and fun. What more do you need to feel everything [is] going to be all right. As long as we can still have a BBQ in our backyard, the world seems a bit of a better place. At least for that moment. -reillyranch


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Always love reading your post, Jim. They are more like short stories.
That was a really interesting read. Thanks.

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pbe gummi bear

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Nice post, Jim. I really like the DOP Modena Style balsamics and has a chance to visit a family producer earlier this year. They are pricey but they last a long time because their flavors are so concentrated. Try it on some gnocco fritto with parmesano and prosciutto or culatello if you havenít already.

The DOP regulations are very strict. They are only allowed to dilute the casks by a certain amount annually, only use certain woods, and the packaging and marketing is also heavily regulated.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 11:43:37 PM by pbe gummi bear »
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Very interesting story, thanks for sharing
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@pbe gummi bear  - I'll let you know when he will offer any for sale.  He had custom hand blown bottles made to use for this balsamic.  Won't be for another 3 years though. He wants to hit the gold (25 year) designation.
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Great pics and story Jim thanks for sharing! Sounds like an amazing trip

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