If you visit a Tasting Bar, and come across a claim like the one
below (or sometimes labelled "Starred" to imply it is aged), be very
careful to ask for the ingredients list. Many White Balsamic Condimento,
are thickened with guar gum, corn flour, Xanthan gum, and loaded with
added sugar. White Balsamics do not age well!!
When in doubt, go to the those who know. We asked the producers of both authentic Consortium Balsamc and Condimento producers at Acetum of Modena Italy, some questions regarding the 'truth in aging White Balsamic.
Q. White balsamic condimento is not solera aged? A."Correct, normally we don’t follow the solera system for the white balsamic condiment"
Q. It is a blend of Trebianno grape must and white wine vinegar. A. "Yes. It’s just the combination of Trebbiano grape must and white wine vinegar (this too from Trebbiano Grapes).
Q. It is aged only briefly, in either white oak or stainless steel, usually not more than 5 years. A. "Correct. In fact, if you age it, like the regular balsamic, in wooden barrels, the product tends to discolor, hence, there is only a minimum aging in stainless steel and/or white oak new wooden barrels only. It’s a delicate product, much like a white wine.
Q. The must is
reduced over a higher heat, more rapidly to avoid the colour transfer
that comes with the "caramelizing" process of dark product.
A. "Correct. While on regular balsamic, there is always cooked must (cook
over slow fire for a long period), in White Balsamic, the must is only
concentrate (under vacuum conditions) so to preserve the color and the
delicate flavor of white grapes. There is additional filtration and
separation (before the cooking) from the grape skins, which otherwise
will impart color (much like wine).
Aceteum comments further
"Unfortunately, the North America Market is full of false and misleading statements....It’s sad that still today people are presenting the product (after so many years) in a wrong way. It would be like saying, I buy Carlo Rossi Jug Wine because it’s 15 years old.
Further point of sadness is that – unfortunately – since there are no standard of identity for Balsamic Vinegar in North America, there is almost nothing we can do about it...The only way is to keep educating our clients about what’s valid and what’s not.In this case is not difficult since it’s easy to understand that if you age a white product (such as white wine) in an old barrel for 15 Years the product cannot possibly came out white."