Thursday, July 10, 2008

Balsamic Mid-Priced Powerhouse

Liking balsamic vinegar and wanting the best puts me on a path to try many brands, both local and international. Bariani makes one of my favorite olive oils, but until recently I resisted their vinegar. Since one of the sons mans a stand at Ferry Plaza each Saturday, I finally asked for more information about it. It is not the imported vinegar that one might assume, but a vinegar they bottle themselves. Ah ha, but traditional balsamic is made from Trebbiano grapes.

Obviously they thought of that, and their product is made from Trebbiano grapes, but they have customized it by also using Zinfandel grapes to make their proprietary blend. Delicious! It has a higher acidity than most moderately priced, imported Balsamic vinegars, but it is also sweeter than the imports, with a heavier mouth feel and a more robust taste. At $11 per 500ml, it's a good value. I believe a reduction made with this vinegar may result in a close mimic of a very expensive "traditional" Balsamic. Thank you, famiglia Bariani, for leaving Lombardy to settle in California.