Traditional Balsamics from Modena

These are the vinegars about which legends have been woven and much is misunderstood.

These are the vinegars about which legends have been woven and much is misunderstood. Here are the basics: true balsamic starts its life as the must (freshly pressed juice) of Trebbiano grapes, then it's cooked down to half its original volume and put into wooden barrels to age. As part of the aging process, small quantities of the liquid are shifted from one type of wood to the next. Oak, cherry, chestnut, mulberry and more all leave their imprint on the flavor.

Each balsamic maker (who can only practice in one of two cities on earth: Reggio-Emilia or Modena), then blends and brings their best--a very small amount each year--before a council that gathers to blindly judge the juice. If it passes, it can become traditional balsamic and can be bottled in the official bottle. (An interesting tidbit here: the bottle used by the Modenese was designed by Girogio Guigiaro. If you're into automobiles, you might know the work he's done for a small local auto maker by the name of Ferrari.) The result of all this effort is an unbelievable concentration of sweet-sour flavor in a dense, intense, brown-black vinegar. There is nothing else like it in the world.

In Modena, traditional balsamics are graded either White or Gold Label. All three below are bottled in Girogio Guigiaro's streamlined vessel, then gift-boxed.

White label
The first level of Modena's traditional balsamics is so extraordinary, it's a shame to just call it vinegar. Dark, rich, and intense.

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Gold label
Rich and priceless, this astounding stuff is wrapped in layers of fantastic flavor like its cousin the gold label from Gold Label Balsamic from Reggio Emilia. I'm amazed every time I take a sip. An all-time astounding vinegar experience, one of the most exceptional gifts you'll ever give or receive.

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Erika's juniper balsamic
This is something really special: a White Label balsamic from Modena that's spent most of its life in Juniper--the most expensive, rare, and aromatic wood used in balsamic-making. Typically, balsamic makers work to balance all of the five or six woods in which they do their aging, so no one wood will dominate. But Erika Barbieri, one of the only women in the balsamic making world, has tweaked tradition by bringing the flavor of the juniper wood to the fore. The results are amazing. Musty, earthy and complex, it's unlike any other balsamic I've tasted. A tiny drop atop fresh cherry tomatoes or ripe, red strawberries is otherworldly.

White Label Juniper Balsamic

V-JUN 100 ml bottle
$150
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Modena White Label Balsamic

V-MOD-1 100 ml bottle
$125
Free shipping

Modena Gold Label Balsamic

V-MOD-2 100 ml bottle
$200
Free shipping
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