Introducing Avignonesi Balsamico
We have something very, very special coming to our Avignonesi shops this season. After being hidden away for years and years, ageing and developing flavour and complexity, it is finally ready to be released...introducing Avignonesi Balsamico!
Avignonesi Balsamico is made from the must of Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes that are grown exclusively in the area surrounding the winery. The grapes are collected and basket-pressed by hand to become the must, called mosto. The mosto is cooked very slowly over an open flame until the water content is reduced by over 50%. The resulting cooked must (mosto cotto) is placed into wooden casks. Each cask contains progressively older vinegar, a "mother of vinegar", that assists in the acetification, turning the must into wine vinegar.
The casks are stored in the acetaia, an attic or upper level, where the living liquid is subjected to the heat of summer and the freezing cold of winter. The attic contains several lines of casks, called batteria, each decreasing in size. Character development begins when the vinegar starts ageing in these small wooden casks. Made from different types of wood - oak, chestnut, cherry, juniper, and mulberry – the casks allow the vinegar to take on their many complex flavors.
Once a year the vinegar is bottled from the smallest cask in the sequence. Each cask is then topped up with vinegar from the next cask up, with the largest cask getting filled with the new yield. None of the casks are ever completely drained, leaving some “mother of vinegar” for the next year. This ageing process is similar to the solera process used for fine sherries, ports, sweet wines, and Spanish brandies.
The bung holes of the casks are not stoppered, only covered with gauze and a weight, so over the course of a year, about 10% of the balsamico evaporates. Called the "angels' share", this evaporation significantly reduces the amount of vinegar and concentrates the flavours of the remaining liquid. The vinegar in the smallest cask will be much thicker and more viscous than the liquid in the successively larger casks.
A rich and woody character, harmoniously sweet and tart at the same time, with notes of dark cherries, dried figs, dates, and caramel await as you open this precious bottle of ambrosia and taste the velvety viscosity on your tongue.
Avignonesi Balsamico will be available from mid-March 2016 at our shop, in extremely limited quantities. Each bottle is hand-numbered and comes with a booklet of recipes prepared specially for our Avignonesi Balsamico - such as Roasted Grape & Balsamico Crostini, Bistecca alla Fiorentina con Balsamico, Dijon-Balsamico Rack of Lamb, and for dessert a Balsamic Blueberry Mille-Feuille. Get your limited bottle today!