On the tables of kings and emperors
The first to fall in love with balsamic vinegar was Emperor Henry III, that, in 1046, requested it from the fortress of Canossa, where he heard it was made “perfettissimo” (utterly perfect). We are in the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where, between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, associations for protection of the recipe and its production methods of obtaining vinegar by cooking wine musts, were founded. A product that must have already been very similar to the balsamic vinegar we know today.
Centuries passed, and in the Modena area more vinegar cellars sprang up, rooms used to store the barrels during the long process of maturing balsamic vinegar, which was christened as such for the first time in 1730. The Duke of Modena Rinaldo d’Este gifted a bottle of vinegar to the famous Vignola scholar Antonio Muratori, calling it “balsamic” with reference to its balsamic, curative – and perhaps even aphrodisiac – properties.
Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, balsamic vinegar began to be appreciated internationally. In 1965, its Production Specifications were officially published in the Official Journal, and European recognition came in 2009 with the Protected Geographical Indication (P.G.I.) status. In the meantime Ponti introduced all Italians to the quality and versatility of its Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
The rules of the vinegar cellar
There’s only one way to make Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, and it’s by following the rules set by the Production Specification.
It must be produced exclusively in the vinegar cellars of the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia using musts obtained from the 7 most cultivated grape varieties in Emilia Romagna – Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana and Montuni – which guarantee perfect acidity and sugar content. Then wine vinegar and a percentage of wine vinegar aged for a minimum of 10 years are added to the musts. Balsamic Vinegar of Modena matures in casks of noble wood in the vinegar cellars, in ideal temperature and aeration conditions.
Our Balsamic Vinegar of Modena was created in the vinegar factory of Vignola, at the foot of Modena hills, with a must content, maturation time and minimum density higher than those established by the Regulations. It is the result of our experience and skilful art, rigorous selection of raw materials and love for our work and for quality.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is the result of the slow maturation of Ponti high quality wine vinegar cooked and concentrated grape must in vats, barrels and casks of different woods and for different periods according to the recipes. Our finest Balsamic Vinegar of Modena matures in casks made of three different woods, each giving the vinegar unique characteristics: the mild vanilla aroma of oak, the aromatic tannins of chestnut and the sweet pungency of cherry. The casks are kept at room temperature in the vinegar cellar in order to take full advantage of the seasons. Heat favours the fermentation and concentration processes, while cold favours sedimentation.
Aged for taste
A condiment resulting from the slow aging of concentrated and cooked grape musts with wine vinegar.
An ancient recipe that has found the most suitable grape varieties, the most deep-rooted knowledge and taste for good food in the region of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
In 2009, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena was granted the Protected Geographical Indication (P.G.I.), a status that confirmed this at European level a Made in Italy excellence which has been strictly regulated by Production Specifications since 1965.
The words of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
This is the place where Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is produced and aged under conditions that facilitate its refinement.
This is the process by which alcohol (e.g. from wine and apple cider) is transformed into acetic acid by acetobacteria, scientifically called acetobacter vinegars and discovered by Louis Pasteur in 1863.
Refinement or maturation
This is the process by which vinegar develops its best characteristics. It takes place in barrels or casks made of fine oak, chestnut and cherry wood for a minimum of 60 days.
This is the period of no less than three years during which Balsamic Vinegar of Modena refines in barrels or casks and can be defined “aged”, the only adjective that the Production Specifications allows to e use for Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
Cooked must, dark and fragrant thanks to the caramelised sugars it contains, gives structure and the typical taste to Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Concentrated must, with a fresher and fruity bouquet, adds aromas and floral notes. The must comes exclusively from the seven grape varieties indicated by the Specifications, which are the most commonly cultivated in Emilia Romagna.
The set of rules and instructions which must be followed in the production, storage, packaging and marketing of food products to be certified with a certificate of origin or quality.
P.G.I. stands for Protected Geographical Indication. It indicates the geographical name of a given production area used to designate a food product. It is obtained by an official recognition by the European Union.
Qualification that refers to a character or a typical property of a vinegar. It is perceived by the sensory organs at the moment of tasting.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
We never compromise on quality, which is why we rely on suppliers with whom we have established a longstanding relationship of trust.
We use only fine Ponti Wine Vinegar, produced in our 4 vinegar factories in Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and Lazio.
The right balance
We bring together concentrated and cooked musts and wine vinegar according to the different recipes of our Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, from the freshest and most fragrant to the most aged and structured.
Our experience and our production specifications, which are more rigorous than those of the Consortium for the Protection of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, regulate the maturation of our vinegars in vats, barrels and casks made from different woods and for different periods depending on the recipes.
Our products have a double guarantee of quality. One from the Consortium's production specifications and the other from the Ponti Quality System, even more stricter than the former and certified by SGS, the worldwide reference point for quality and integrity.
With artisan care we fill, cap and label the bottles, which are customised for their target market.
The Ponti's classification system
With the experience of those who have been making vinegar for nine generations, Ponti has created a clear and transparent tool to indicate on each label the characteristics of each Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
The system, guaranteed by SGS, a world leader in certifications, allows you to easily and immediately choose the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Ponti that best matches each recipe.
This is the period of maturation in fine wooden barrels
An essential step in which the Aceto Balsamico di Modena P.G.I. is enriched with unique scents and flavours. We let our balsamic vinegars mature much longer than the minimum time required by the Aceto Balsamico di Modena P.G.I. Production Specifications, because this is the only way they can become Ponti Vinegars.
This is the essential ingredient for the production of Aceto Balsamico di Modena P.G.I.
The characteristics of Aceto Balsamico di Modena P.G.I. vary according to the quantity of cooked or concentrate grape musts used. In our Aceto Balsamico di Modena P.G.I. the minimum percentage of must is higher than what required by the Specifications.
Along with the colour, this is one of the most important visual characteristics for the evaluation of Aceto Balsamico di Modena P.G.I..
The degree of smoothness and the flavour depend on the amount of concentrated or cooked musts present in the recipe. Our range of Aceto Balsamico di Modena P.G.I. includes different levels of density, all with a value well above the minimum required by the Specifications.