If you are looking for a Balsamic Vinegar aged for 30, 50 or 100 years on the web, you have to know some highly important facts about the product before purchasing it. In fact, according to the law it is prohibited to annotate the aging time on the label of Balsamic Vinegar. This is because this element is not useful for the product classification. Let’s go into details and try to understand together why it doesn’t have any sense to search for a Balsamic Vinegar aged for 30, 50 or 100 years.
How Aged Must be a Balsamic Vinegar to Be Good?
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI can be considered “aged” when it has managed to obtain its distinctive organoleptic peculiarities of aromas and flavors. The regulation requires at least 3 years of aging in wooden barrels to obtain the so-called “Aged” Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, but sometimes it may take 6-7 years of aging for the product to develop a mature shape and a complete stable structure.
However, there is no strict rule in this regard. Every product has its own way to evolve, and it may need an indefinite number of years, sometimes more and sometimes less, to reach a mature and stable quality. In fact, not all the production are the same, and every vinegar is like a person: there are many, and each one has its own life path and a unique personality.
Aged Balsamic Vinegar: The Rules.
Our “Black Gold” is a highly requested product, it is difficult to produce and therefore often very expensive. It is subject to numerous production guidelines, imposed by the Consortium that determines its authenticity, as a guarantee for the consumer. Among these guidelines, there is the minimum aging of the product:
- Minimum ageing of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI: 60 days.
- Minimum ageing of “Aged” Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI: 3 years.
- Minimum Aging of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO: 12 years.
The PDO regulation has also established the minimum limit for the denomination “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO Extra Vecchio”, and it is of 25 years.
Does Balsamic Vinegar Get Better and Better over the Years?
That is the question that often misleads the consumer, who thinks as if he were in front of a wine. In fact, Balsamic Vinegar can be aged for decades, in the case of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, it can exceed the threshold of 25 years, becoming “Extra Vecchio”. Keeping on aging the product, does not always mean bringing benefits or refining its taste. In fact, there is the possibility (not a remote one!) that the product can get damaged during the aging. At the same time, it is possible and preferable that the character obtained in the 25+ aged products, develops year after year and thus further improves the product.
Approaching a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO, we always face an excellence and it is legitimate to have very high expectations. Still the most important element that should preponderate a consumer for the purchase is the palate subjectivity: the aromatic harmony of the product obtained during the decades of refining must convince the taster, since the perception is individual, and the notes and perfumes of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar can vary from one product to another.
Is a Balsamic Vinegar Aged for 50 Years Better than the One Aged for “Only” 30 Years?
As we have stated in this article, there is no reason why a 50 years aged Balsamico should be better or worse than the one aged for 30 years. For that reason, it is not only useless to specify the aging on the label, but it also does not comply with the regulation.
In conclusion, the aging of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO must not mislead the consumer and cannot in anyway be considered as the main indicator of the organoleptic characteristic of the product. Nor is it certain that a more aged product must necessarily have a higher cost.