Huh? A traditional balsamic vinegar made in the US?
How does a company that focuses on traditionally made, artisan foods justify selling a balsamic vinegar that's not made in Italy? Easily, actually. Just look at Herb and Kathy Eckhouse and their company La Quercia. They make some of the tastiest prosciutto in the world and they do it in Iowa. It's more than possible to make something "old" in someplace "new" and have it be just as delicious (if not better).
Sometimes it's a good to shake things up a little bit.
Enter Steve Darland and his traditional balsamic made in Montichello, New Mexico.
His balsamic is made from organic trebbiano grapes that he grows on his vineyard; the same grapes they use in Italy. He ages the grape juice in casks made by famed cooper Francesco Renzi, the master cask maker of Modena, Italy. His family has been making barrels for balsamic makers for more than five hundred years.
For the past seventeen years Steve has been blending his different vintages of vinegar in his own acetaia located at the vineyard. The unique climate of New Mexico (low humidity) has enabled him to produce a vinegar with the same viscosity as Italian balsamics twice as old as his. That's a good thing.
But the best thing is its flavor. Smooth, sweet, and rich with notes of blackberry, tart cherry and even a little vanilla. He moves his vinegar through casks made of seven different woods: oak, chestnut, ash, acacia, mulberry, cherry and juniper and each one imparts its own special character to the flavor of the vinegar.
Hands down the best balsamic made in the states. But don't take my word for it (or the litany of chefs and food writers who've sung its praises). Try it for yourself and see how good new traditions can be.