Caviar Star has always been dedicated to seeking out only the best for our clients. Our selection of aged balsamic vinegar is no exception. I recently had the honor of touring Acetaia Leonardi, the producers of our balsamic vinegar from Modena. This ancient condiment provides a rich brown, velvety, and versatile balance of sweet and sour and we are proud to offer it to you.
In stage one, Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes are picked by hand during September and October. This is when the ratio between sugars and acidity is at its most. Leonardi Balsamico began in the countryside of Modena where the typical varieties of Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes are grown. The juice from the grapes, called must, is the basic ingredient of Leonardi Balsamic Vinegars.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is made in 6 stages.
In stage one, Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes are picked by hand during September and October. This is when the ratio between sugars and acidity is at its most.
In stage 2, the grapes are “soft pressed” to avoid the excess of Polyphenols present in the peel, seeds and stalks. Leaving these in could lead to bitterness in the end product. The grapes are then filtered to eliminate any additional solids or impurities.
Stage 3 is the cooking and it must take place within 24 hours of pressing to avoid fermentation. The must is boiled for 30 minutes to become sterilized. It then continues to cook slowly until it is cooled down and put on rest to decant until January.
Stage 4 is the ageing process. According to their procedures, “the must is put in batteries of wood barrels, made of minimum 9 barrels placed in decreasing size, from 180 to 10 litres. Each barrel is made of a different type of wood (oak, ash, juniper, cherry, mulberry, chestnut…) and is full for 75% of its capacity. The series of barrels are placed in the attics because there the temperature range is higher (very hot summers and chilly winters) which are optimal conditions for the ageing. The barrels are open to enable the natural concentration of the liquid by evaporation. “
In stage 5, the Balsamic vinegar is annually moved from one barrel to another to acquire the different essences of the woods.
Finally in stage 6, the tasting! “Every year sensorial tests are run on every barrel, to control the limpidity, the flavor, the color and taste of the liquid. We use a glass container to pour the liquid taken from a barrel through the apposite glass pipette. For the visual test, it is better to use the light of a candle to evaluate the color and consistency through the transparent container in back-light. The olfactory parameters include the intensity, the persistence of perfumes and the acidity, whereas the taste is checked through the intensity, the flavor, the harmony between sour and sweet and the acidity. A china spoon is preferred for the tasting as it does not alter the flavor. Various master tasters compare their results to guaranty the best objective quality.”