When it comes to Italian culinary excellencies, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena stands out among the most prized and distinctive condiments, as well as among the most famous in the world. But when talking about the Black Gold from the great plain of northern Italy, it is inevitable to sometimes come across decidedly technical terms, which can leave room for some doubts in the average consumer. Today we mainly focus on the adjective “monolegno” or “single wood”, appearing in the descriptions of some bottles on the market both in physical stores and online. This somewhat mysterious expression certainly evokes a sense of authenticity and craftsmanship at first glance, but what does it really mean? In this article we will explain in terms that everyone can understand what lies behind this adjective and we will reveal why single-wood Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGPI is one of the most appreciated by true connoisseurs.
The Art of Wood and its Profound Meaning
As we have already extensively explained in other articles of our blog, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP (not to be confused with the DOP and easily recognizable even by smell) is obtained with a minimum aging period of only 60 days inside the wooden barrels and is basically composed of a mixture of cooked grape must and wine vinegar, but some producers also add concentrated must and caramel to their products. It is therefore a multi-ingredient condiment which, with different mixtures, gives life to products with different flavors.
The definition “single wood” Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is applicable only to the IGP products, as the short aging period inside the barrel involves the use of a single wood. The expression “single wood” alludes to the entire refinement process, in which a special meeting takes place between the vinegar and the selected wood, thus allowing the predominant aroma of the wood to emerge distinctively. This is unlike the DOP Balsamic Vinegar, called “multi wood”, which in 12 years passes through the different woods of the battery. It can therefore be deduced that a single-wood Balsamic Vinegar of Modena can be considered a good starting point for understanding the aromas given by the various types of wood and is therefore an excellent gift for those who are just approaching this vast world of depth and complexity of taste.
The woods commonly used for the production of single wood Balsamic Vinegars of Modena are oak and cherry: each of these gives different nuances to the final product. Oak wood, for example, can give notes of vanilla and spice to the vinegar, while cherry wood adds an underlined sweetness. Much more complex, however, is the management of chestnut, a wood that releases a bitter taste if not handled correctly, and juniper which instead can give a sensation of lumpiness on the palate (tannic taste).
Try our single wood Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP “Bronze Label”.
Like any self-respecting vinegar factory, with a history of over a century behind it and several generations at work, “La Vecchia Dispensa” offers its clients a special variant of single wood Balsamic Vinegar of Modena – the “Bronze Label”. Thanks to its intense aromatic profile, in the kitchen it goes perfectly with second courses: roasts, grilled red meats or aged cheeses.
Structurally, this is one of the most particular products of our classic collection and it is highly recommended for the gourmet palates, always looking for new gastronomic experiences.
When tasted, in fact, the aromatic notes of the juniper wood can be appreciated at the end. Being one of the most insidious of the classic balsamic vinegar woods, it is not used by all Modena vinegar factories: for this reason, our “Bronze Label” is a small flavor gem that stands out in the world of balsamico. Much more than a simple condiment, it is a tribute to the history, passion and tradition of our family. We invite you to experience every drop of the past and present of the product which manages to be renewed every day in the dishes of today’s cuisine.