PDO Balsamic Vinegar
The most renowned product in the world for its excellent quality is the PDO Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, where PDO stands for Protected designation of origin. It requires a complex preparation that involves cooking and reducing the must of the excellent local grapes, such as Lambrusco (in all its varieties and clones), Ancellotta, Trebbiano (in all its varieties and clones), Sauvignon, Sgavetta, Berzemino and Occhio di Gatta. Once the grapes have been crushed, the must rests for 24 hours before being sieved. The product is then slowly boiled on an open flame for 24 to 36 hours.
At the end of this operation, the volume of the must has dropped by half. It now has to cool and decant until winter comes, when it is transferred into small barrels of fine wood. Again, the PDO product specifications dictate the rules: a vinegar can only boast the PDO Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena designation if it is aged for at least 12 years. The “extra vecchio” (extra old) label refers to vinegars that have aged for at least 25 years.