This is a complex, intensely flavoured balsamic vinegar, expertly blended by one of Modena's master craftsmen and matured for 10 years.
Giovanni Leonardi is the fourth generation to produce top-quality balsamic vinegar at the family farmhouse in northern Italy’s wine country.
At each stage of production, he cleaves to the old ways. First, the grapes are only picked by hand, during September and October, to ensure only the best bunches at the peak of their ripeness are selected.
They’re then gently squeezed, so that the bitter-tasting polyphenols from the skins, stalks and pips don’t influence the final product.
Within 24 hours, the juice is cooked in an open-air copper cauldron for at least a day and a half, until it has lost around 70% of its original volume.
From here, Giovanni’s expertise as an assaggiatore (taster) really comes into its own. This cooked grape must is blended with red and white wine vinegars – most of which are also made in his farmhouse acetaia, using grapes grown on the farm.
For a balsamic vinegar to achieve its IGP accreditation, at least 20% of the product has to come from the cooked grape must, as opposed to the added wine vinegars. Giovanni never uses less than 35% in his and has even included up to 75%.
- As a condiment, drizzled over roast beef or lamb or grilled fish.
- With extra virgin olive oil as a pre-dinner dip for crusty bread.
- In a marinade. Try it with steak or chicken destined for the griddle pan or barbecue.
- With dessert. Its perfect balance of sweetness and acidity means a little drizzle will work wonders over strawberries or a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
- Sipped sparingly as an after-dinner digestif.