Condimento Balsamico, also called Condimento as well as Balsamico, is made with the same saba (grape must) and in the same batterie (set of barrels) as is the Balsamic Vinegar Tradizionale DOP.
Condimento Balsamico is made in a batteria, but the finished product may be younger or older according to the producer's wish, typically drawn from barrels which could have gone through an amazing 100 travassi (topping-up, which are done on a yearly basis) to even a simple and vibrant 3 travassi.
Typically less expensive than Tradizionale DOP due to the fact it does not undergo the rigorous scrutiny and limited numbers as the "real thing" , it is also not uncommon for producers to carefully add a bit of wine vinegar when it comes to the younger travassi-selections in order to brighten the acidity which is so characteristic of a pure and authentic Traditional Balsamico.
Condimento Balsamico production is regulated by the Consorzio Balsamico of which most of the producers are the same Tradizionale DOP producers, and for that reason sometimes their selections can be far better than the certified DOP products.
The few Condimenti Balsamici from Acetaia Leonardi which Manicaretti has selected for you are outstanding, and they may very well be the best value in Balsamico. From the amazing 100, 30 and 20 year travassi selection, the assortment includes a carefully selected pallete of younger interpretations for which thickness, acidity and flavors were always kept in mind for every use in a perfect meal.
Balsamico doesn’t “age” as wine does. Whereas a single vintage of wine ages in barrels and later in bottles, a balsamic’s “age” refers to the number of travasi (yearly topping-up) the acetaio (vinegar maker) has worked with on a particular batteria (sets of barrels); not the age of the contents in a bottle.
A "young" balsamico will not develop the characteristics of a Tradizionale balsamico by simply being kept in the bottle for many years.
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