Giuseppe Giusti produces the world-renowned Balsamic Vinegar of Modena since 1605

ARTICLE / 16 JAN 2016 / BY DIMITRIS PANAGIOTIDIS

Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti
A great Modenese tradition © Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti.
Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti. Strada Quattro Ville 155 Modena, Italy / giusti.it

The Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico di Giuseppe Giusti is the oldest producer of Balsamic Vinegar in the world, founded in 1605. Giusti’s Balsamic Vinegar was awarded with 14 Gold Medals in various expositions and fairs in 19th Century. In 1929 was awarded by the King of Italy as official supplier of Rela House of Savoy. Today’s bottle and label are still the same created at the beginning of 20th Century. Thecompany is still today conducted by the family. Claudio Stefani Giusti is the 17th generation.

Giuseppe Giusti produces the world-renowned Balsamic Vinegar of Modena since 1605
The oldest acetaia in the world © Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti.

“Balsamic vinegar is synonymous with Baroque times of culture and the ancient history of the Duchy of Este. It exists by virtue of a unique combination of the particular local climatic and environmental characteristics and historical events, which shaped the life and character of the local population.”

Balsamic vinegar is synonymous with Baroque times of culture and the ancient history of the Duchy of Este. It exists by virtue of a unique combination of the particular local climatic and environmental characteristics and historical events, which shaped the life and character of the local population. The strong link to viticulture of the area was already well known during the Roman times, where the grape must was cooked, transforming it into a resource of great strategic, military and economic importance. Latin authors, such as Cicerne, Plinio and Virgilio cited Balsamic Vinegar. It is said that Balsamic Vinegar was born, by pure chance, when the cooked must was forgotten. With time, it developed the unique and unmistakable characteristics know today as being those of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

Giuseppe Giusti produces the world-renowned Balsamic Vinegar of Modena since 1605
Flavours from centuries ago © Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti.

The recipe for balsamic vinegar, a secret passed down orally, from father to son. An ancient knowledge based on gestures and unwritten traditions. Giuseppe Giusti in 1863, during an Agriculture Exhibition in Modena, fixed in writing the golden rules for a “perfect Balsamic Vinegar: the selection of grapes, the quality of the barrel and time.” A source of family pride, the “Giusti Recipe” is a testament of historical value, one of the first exisiting documents which outlines the secrets The Gran Deposito is composed of more than 600 precious casks from different era: 1600, 1700 and 1800. Is really the time that gives them, year after year, a better quality to create an excellent Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Vinegar lives up to its reputation: distributed to the most prestigious specialty provenders of Italy and throughout the world, it has been chosen by international chefs as an excellent expression of Balsamic Vinegar and Made in Italy.

Giuseppe_Giusti_Balsamic_Vinegar_Modena_01
The bottle of Giusepe Giusti © Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti.

The typical Giusti bottled is determined by the company long story. In fact, at the beginning of 19th Century in the area of Modena there wasn’t a glass production and Giusti Family decided to reuse wine bottles of Lambrusco, at that time, widely available on Emilia Romagna’s market. Today this historical heritage become tradition. A unique symbol, represented by the unmistakable Art Nouveau label. An extraordinary combination that has made the brand Giussti recognizable all over the world.

Giuseppe Giusti produces the world-renowned Balsamic Vinegar of Modena since 1605
The Solera method © Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti.

The series of barrels are composed, according to the tradition, of 5 or 7 barrels of decreasing capacity, with the essence of different precious woods, where the vinegar rests and acquires perfumes and aromas. Each wood therefore accomplishes a precious and particular duty: the chestnut rich in tannins gives the brown colour, the cheery sweetens the flavour, the mulberry favours oxygenation, the juniper gives the resin essence and the oak provides the typical vanilla perfume. Every year, according to the “method of refilling and decantering”, the quantity of liquid lost to natural evaporation is adjusted, refilling the smallest barrel in the series with balsamic vinegar from the previous barrel, a process which continues to the last barrel, which is itself replenished with acetified must from the badessa.

Giuseppe Giusti produces the world-renowned Balsamic Vinegar of Modena since 1605
White Pearls © Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti.

At the end of this journey, which lasts at least 12 years for the quality referred to as “affinato”, and at least 25 years for the “extravecchio”, a portion from the smallest barrel can be drawn and sent to a “blind tasting” conducted by the Official Tasters of the Consortium. Only balsamics of a rich, glossy and deep brown colour, smoothly syrupy, persistently sweet and sour, full and balanced, merit the title “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.