This visual peculiarity is, in fact, due to the non-enzymatic browning reaction of the sugars during the cooking of the grape must which subsequently becomes more concentrated as it matures.
Alongside density and clarity, colour has been placed on the list of evaluation criteria perhaps due to it being the more characteristic element of the product that is known worldwide. By definition, the colour of balsamic vinegar should be ‘dark brown and full-bodied’, but it can fall anywhere on the scale from intense brown to amber depending on the concentration of the cooked musts.
It’s not all about the dark shades
Yet, not everyone knows that the pride of Modena can also be white. Of course, it is only a few particular products which are made from white grapes which fall into the largest category of balsamic dressing, which, although referring to the most famous vinegar, does not fall within the production regulations of PDO and PGI brands.
The dressings come from a mixture of musts (not just white) and balsamic vinegar of Modena. With an acidity of between 4.5 and 5%, they have an aroma and an intense taste that changes depending on the number of years it has aged for and the type of precious wood it has been resting in. With the great variability in quality, recipes and even prices, it shouldn’t be surprising that, in this huge family of dressings, some are light coloured and very different from the ‘traditional’ product.
The white condiments of Mussini
Mussini has dedicated an entire production line to the category of balsamic condiments which are all products that have that characteristic bittersweet flavour but distinguish themselves with a slight acidity. Their well-balanced notes go well with meat, fish, ice cream and even chocolate and are almost a perfect substitute for wine vinegar to dress salads or to flavour meat.
But Mussini has also decided to divide these products into a category based on the most varied types of blends. Among these is the white balsamic dressing, matured in oak, straw coloured and with a fruity, sweet and sour taste. For example, there is the Emozione Bianco, which has 5% acidity and a density of 1.28 which makes it perfect for mixed salads, steamed or fried fish, seafood salads white meats, crustaceans, shrimps, soft or aged cheeses.
The Bianco numero 4 Spray and Opera numero 4 are instead produced with a 5% acidity and a density of 1.10 which makes them perfect for use in mixed salads, steamed or fried fish, seafood salads, white meats, shellfish and soft cheeses.
The same goes for the Vecchio Ducato Bianco numero 4, Passione Bianco numero 4 and Rinascimento Bianco numero 4, all of which have a 6% acidity and a density of 1.10. A little oddity is the Opera collection by Mussini that uses saba, which is a grape syrup that is obtained from the freshly prepared must of white or red grapes, and which is not only very sweet but also, ages very well. Thanks to its sweet note, this product is very well preserved.
All other Mussini balsamic condiments
But it doesn’t end there. As we have mentioned, the balsamic dressing is not just white. In this regard, Mussini dedicated some categories to the remaining range of dressing which it then divided by number. In each case, the figure written corresponds to the aging quality given by the number of time it was decanted which is what makes the product mature.
From 3 to 7, we see young balsamic dressings, with a delicate scent and a pleasant bittersweet flavour. From 8 to 12, the most mature balsamic dressings with sweet and woody notes combined with the bittersweet taste. From 14 to 100, the balsamic vinegars which are very mature with very high densities and viscosities and a peasant aftertaste of aged musts. These include Cilindro, Cubo Riserva, Espirit, Mademoiselle, Emozione, Spray, Opera, Mela, Esmeralda, Premium and Vecchia Farmacia. All of which are characterised by a dark and rather intense colour.