Why are Tradizionale balsamic vinegars expensive?

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There are several reasons why Tradizionale (Traditional) grade balsamics are expensive:

1. Tradizionale balsamic vinegars must be aged a minimum of 12 years (for Affinato vinegar – Extra Vecchio vinegar must be aged 25 years or more).

2. They must be exceptionally high quality as judged by experts in the Consortium of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.

3. These vinegars have legal DOP/PDO status, which means they must be produced in Modena from only the must of Modena-grown grapes. No other ingredients are allowed. By limiting them by age, ingredient quality, and geography, production levels are kept low (see How Balsamic Vinegars Are Made for more info).

4. Over the long periods of time these vinegars are aged, they decrease substantially in volume (roughly 10% evaporates per year).

It has been estimated that each cup (250ml) of tradizionale balsamic vinegar was made from around 70lbs of Modena grapes.* Each tradizionale bottle contains 3.5fl oz of vinegar, which means it was made from about 29lbs of grapes!

Extra Vecchio vinegars are aged longer, and may represent even more fruit.


More Balsamic Information:
How Balsamic Vinegars are Made
Vinegar Recipes

* Harold McGee, pg 776 On Food & Cooking, Revised Ed.

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