Balsamic Vinegar FAQ’s

What is the difference between producing balsamico tradizionale and other balsamics like VR organic?

Tradizionale balsamic vinegar is made only with grape must. There is no added wine vinegar. This grape must is placed with previously aged “starter” balsamic in a series of small barrels known as a battery where it naturally undergoes conversion from must to vinegar. That is why it takes such a long to produce, and that is why it costs about 5-10 times more than a regular balsamic. In regular balsamic, wine vinegar is added during production to speed up the process of creating acid-sugar balanced vinegar.

Tradizionale balsamic is packaged in only 100ml bottles, must be certified, and packed in specific packaging.

What are the ingredients in a typical dark balsamic vinegar from Modena? How is it made?

Dark balsamic vinegar contains grape must and wine vinegar. It is made by concentrating grape must through evaporation, often by heating in large copper pots. Wine vinegar is then added, and then the product is aged. Grapes used are Trebbiano and Lambrusco. The best quality vinegars including all products sold by Ritrovo only use these 2 ingredients. Many products sold in the united states add sugars, colors or caramel in increase sweetness and change density.

How can I know how many years a balsamic is aged if it is not tradizionale?

The short answer is that you can’t, labels on non “tradizionale” balsamics are very misleading, because there are no laws in Italy or the EU regarding years of aging for any product that is not tradizionale. Any other product that has information regarding years of aging cannot be considered accurate. Modern methods for production of balsamic vinegar allow for natural products to mimic the density, acidity and flavors of tradizionale products in less time, so age is less of a determining factor in taste, quality and price then it was in the past, or is for tradizionale products.

What determines density and price of balsamic?

Since there is no accurate information for years of aging for balsamic vinegar, pricing and quality are based solely on the density and quality of grape must used. Common densities are 1.25, 1.3 and 1.33. At Ritrovo our VR Aceti Organic Sofia balsamics are 1.25 density (a little more for the organic dark). Our pour spout bottle VR Aceti Organic are 1.3 density. And our Maletti “Famiglia” extra dense is a 1.33 density.

What should I look for in a quality balsamic vinegar?

The first thing to look for is an importer who you can trust, like Ritrovo! All our products are 100% natural and contain no caramel color or other additives. We have visited the vineyards where the grapes for the must are grown and see the care and attention made in producing and concentrating the must. On tasting, look for a balance between acidity and sweet, with a lingering finish on your palate. There should be no powdery or flat aftertaste.

What is the difference between white and dark balsamic?

White balsamic is made from white grape must while dark is made from red grape must, or a combination of white and red grape must.

What does the IGP certification on the balsamic mean?

It means that the balsamic conforms to the EU and Italian laws for historically produced balsamic vinegar.
• The production of Aceto Balsamico di Modena must be carried out in the administrative territory of the province of Modena or Reggio Emilia.
• IGP guarantees the product is made from grape varietals typical of Modena (Albana,
Ancellotta Fortana. Lambrusco, Montuni, Sangiovese, and Trebbiano).
• The vinegar is cooked in pressurized vats and aged for at least two months in large wooden
• Balsamic Vinegar of Modena I.G.P. must contain wine vinegar to bring its acidity to at least

Are all balsamic vinegars made in Modena?

Modena has a long history of balsamic produc=on, but another region Reggio-Emilia, also has similar production characteristics and a set of tradizionale products.

How are VR AceN fruit balsamics made compared to regular dark balsamic?

VR Aceti fruit balsamics are made by replacing the red grape must with natural organic fruit juice. The combination of white balsamic and fruit juice provides a unique fruit forward “balsamic style” vinegar with the natural sweetness and density of dark balsamics. In some cases, VR Aceti also uses a small amount of organic fruit pectin to emulsify the fruit juice and obtain the perfect density.