The Crull family produces a limited amount of traditional balsamic vinegar. Enchanted with balsamic tasted in Italy, the odyssey with balsamic began with a visit to cask maker Renzi in Modena. Renzi referred us to Paul Bertolli who has consulted on the project ever since.
Unlike ordinary wine vinegar, aceto balsamico is made from crushed and pressed grapes, which are then slowly cooked to concentrate the sugars to at least 40 Brix. At that point the mosto cotto (cooked must) is fermented for several weeks. Finally the new balsamic is inoculated with acetobacto and is left to acidify.
The balsamic then begins its slow aging and oxidation process in a battery of small casks of different woods (Acacia, Chestnut, Cherry, Ash, Oak and Mulberry) allowing the liquid to evaporate in smaller and smaller barrels for a generation or more. The resulting vinegar is thick, more of a condiment or a cordial.
The Crull family balsamico is now 14 years old and as the Italians say "we make it for our grandchildren", for it won't truly be exceptional until is has aged a quarter century.