Traditional Balsamic Vinegar has to be aged for a minimum of how many years?
Balsamic vinegar, occasionally shortened to balsamic, is a very dark, concentrated, and intensely flavoured vinegar originating in Italy, made wholly or partially from grape must. Grape must is freshly crushed grape juice with all the skins, seeds and stems.
Only two consortia produce true traditional balsamic vinegar, Modena and neighboring Reggio Emilia. True balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of several barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks are made of different woods like chestnut, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash and juniper. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color, and has a complex flavour that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks.