Balsamic vinegar of Modena, Aceto Balsamico di Modena, originated centuries ago in the small Italian village of Spilamberto. The word balsamico, rooted in the languages of Latin and Greek, means "restorative" or "curative" and perfectly describes the art of bringing the flavors of the Old World to life.
Much like the world-class chefs who use the very best ingredients in their dishes, Ortalli selects only the finest grapes to handcraft their premium balsamic vinegars. Grown in vineyards among the luscious rolling hills in the countryside of Emilia Romagna, Italy, each variety of grape is carefully selected and gently pressed to create a beautiful must. Using the utmost care, each must is then slowly cooked and naturally fermented before being placed in wooden casks of the highest quality for seasoning and maturation. Only then is the finest balsamic vinegar worthy of being delicately decanted and poured into Ortalli's signature bottles.
From the sourcing of raw ingredients to the final stage of packaging, Ortalli believes that each phase of the artisanal process is significant. Guided by the principles of its founder and traditional methods rooted in the most advanced quality certification standards, Ortalli pays exceptional attention to every detail to create its premium balsamic vinegars. Their ecologically sustainable vineyards and distillery have been designed and built to offer ideal conditions for the preparation and aging of Ortalli's exclusive high-quality products.
In fact, the Ortalli products bear the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) seal, which certifies that its vinegars meet the standards for being called Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, one of the highest quality balsamic vinegars in the world. In order to bear the PGI seal, these vinegars must be carefully crafted from specific varieties of grapes in the province of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and mellowed in wooden barrels for a minimum of 60 days.
Also, as one of the premier producers of Aceto Balsamico di Modena, Ortalli strictly adheres to the leaf grading system of the Italian Balsamic Taster's Association or AIB. The internationally recognized AIB has created a set of sensorial tests to classify this varietal of balsamic vinegar into four different quality levels characterized by the symbol of a leaf.
One leaf describes a balsamic vinegar that is light and slightly acidic. Typically, this type is used for salads and marinades.
Two leaves signify a balsamic vinegar that is lightly concentrated with a smoother taste, ideal for dressings.
Three leaves indicate the balsamic vinegar that has a round and full-bodied taste with a syrupy concentration – a perfect complement to cheeses and vegetables.
The highest grade, four leaves, is reserved for premium balsamic vinegars with a superb taste. This variety is extremely thick with an exceptional flavor and adds the perfect touch to special recipes or gourmet dishes and desserts.