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. It could be drawn from barrels that have underwent anywhere from an amazing 100 travasi (topping-up, which is done on a yearly basis) to even a simple and vibrant 3 year travasi.
Condimenti Balsamici are typically less expensive than Tradizionale DOP due to the fact that they do not undergo the same rigorous scrutiny, and it is not uncommon for producers to carefully add a bit of wine vinegar to the younger travasi-selections in order to brighten the acidity that 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 also produce Tradizionale DOP, 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 travasi selections, to an assortment of carefully selected younger interpretations for which thickness, acidity, and flavors were always kept in mind.
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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