A bottle of balsamic vinegar
What Exactly Goes Into The World's Priciest Balsamic Vinegar
Like good wine, good balsamic vinegar has intricacies and nuances in how it’s produced. Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (DOP) is the highest quality, and therefore the most expensive.
True balsamic vinegars like this one can only be produced in Reggio Emilia or Modena, from those specific grapes that are native to those regions in Italy.
A tiny 100-ml bottle of this stuff will easily cost over $100, and the best kind can cost over $200. That’s about $30 for just a tablespoon of this liquid goodness.
True Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is notably made with Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes, but other varieties can be used as long as they come from the designated region.
Once the grapes are harvested, their juice, skins, seeds, and stems are all pressed to create “grape must.” This is the only ingredient used to make traditional balsamic vinegar.
If there’s more than one ingredient on the label then it’s likely not traditional balsamic vinegar. The distinct spherical shape of the bottle also represents its authenticity.
Along with the specific wine grape, traditional balsamic vinegar must be aged a minimum of 12 years, but the most coveted bottles can go up to 25 years or more.