Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO and PGI: what are the differences?

by Redazione Fine Taste

Many of us know, by direct tasting or by fame, the balsamic vinegar of Modena . However, not everyone knows the specific characteristics and the difference that exists between a PGI balsamic vinegar and a PDO one . This difference is substantial as it influences not only the price but also the correct use in the kitchen.

To say that in both cases these are artisanal products of excellence and global culinary fame is banal, what makes them truly unique is the manufacturing process and the very strict specifications that they must respect to boast the title of IGT and DOP product.

Let's see them together

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP is without a doubt one of the most exclusive Italian artisan products in the world. This "masterpiece" is obtained through a very long manufacturing process and with a single ingredient: the grape must coming exclusively from the lands of the province of Modena. The specification provides for the use of only grapes from the Trebbiano, Lambrusco and Ancellotta vines. Production also takes place entirely in the province of Modena. The procedure involves two phases: the boiling of the must (for about thirty minutes) and the slow aging process in barrels of different sizes.

The choice of barrels, especially the wood with which they are built, is crucial. The wood releases scents and moods that have a significant impact and influence the taste and aroma of the vinegar. Usually barrels made of oak, chestnut, cherry, ash and mulberry are used. There is no addition of aromatic substances or anything else: only and exclusively must!

The barrels are jealously preserved at a controlled temperature inside the vinegar factories. The aging process lasts a minimum of 12 years, but can even last 100 years! Fine Taste is proud to offer you vinegars that have spanned two centuries of history . “Affinato” is called traditional vinegar aged for 12 years, while “Extravecchio” is traditional vinegar aged for 25 years or more.

No further explanations are necessary to understand that this complex process makes balsamic vinegar with the DOP denomination the most valuable of all and with a price that must necessarily reflect these truly unique characteristics.

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is also a high quality artisanal product, but very different ingredients and processes are used to produce it compared to PDO.

The raw material is a careful mixture of partially fermented, cooked or concentrated grape must (with a minimum percentage of at least 20%), wine vinegar (at least 10%) and vinegar that is at least 10 years old.

Also in this case the grapes derive exclusively from the Trebbiano, Lambrusco and Ancellotta vines and production takes place entirely in the province of Modena.

The refinement takes place in fine wooden barrels for a minimum period of 60 days. Once the refinement process is finished, the balsamic vinegar obtains the PGI certification only after a scrupulous control by experts.

In this case we can talk about aging only if, once the refinement is finished, the vinegar is placed in smaller wooden barrels for a further rest period. If this phase exceeds three years the vinegar will be indicated in the package as "Aged"

Balsamic Vinegar DOP and IGP: suggestions for use

As we have seen, different raw materials and different processes lead to different characteristics, aromas and uses.

The PDO has a deep and intense dark brown colour. It is characterized by a great viscosity due to very slow evaporation. Its aroma is complex and the flavor is sweet and sour, of great balance and refinement.

To be strictly consumed raw on dishes so as not to damage its precious scents, we take the liberty of suggesting that you appreciate it in purity, simply a few drops on a teaspoon...Pure ecstasy...Decades of accumulated aromas!

Balsamic vinegar with PGI denomination has a clear and brilliant appearance, is characterized by a delicate aroma and an elegant acidity. It is certainly the most widely used and most versatile in the preparation of dishes.

If you want to buy a large Balsamic Vinegar you will find a rich selection here