Ask Barb - White vs. Dark Balsamic Vinegar

Ask Barb - White vs. Dark Balsamic Vinegar

Barbara Braidwood is one of the founders of Saratoga Olive Oil Co. She enjoys educating our consumers about the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars and how to incorporate them into a healthy, balanced diet.

Dear Barb,

I discovered your product five years ago while visiting Saratoga during horse racing season. My friends and I had lots of fun tasting all of your products and I left with over a dozen bottles! I continue to place orders on your website frequently. I am wondering what makes your white and dark balsamics different? I assume different grapes? I thoroughly enjoy cooking with both products but was just curious.  

Jessica H.
Clermont, FL

Hi Jessica,

Thank you for reaching out. I am happy that you enjoyed the visit to our shop and thrilled that you continue to enjoy our products.

Let me begin by saying that all of our balsamic vinegars are imported from Modena, Italy, the place where authentic balsamic has been made since the Middle Ages. Both our white and dark balsamics are produced from the same grape (surprise!), the white Trebbiano variety. The difference lies in the production method.

Our dark balsamic is created by slowly cooking the grape juice in copper kettles over an open wood fire. The rich, sweet flavor comes when the cooked grape juice (also known as “must”) becomes caramelized. The grape must is then aged in wooden casks stored in attics for fermentation while incorporating the Solera method. With the Solera method, as a portion of the vinegar evaporates, each barrel is topped off with younger vinegar from the previous barrel so each year the new must is blended with the one from the previous year. The result of this aging process, which takes up to 18 years, is a delicious, complex all-natural balsamic vinegar with no added sugar, thickening agents, or caramel coloring. 100% pure and 100% delicious!

Our white balsamic process also involves the cooking of Trebbiano grapes, but not to the point of caramelization. They are aged in either new wood barrels or stainless steel vats for up to 12 years. This makes our white balsamic more tart or tangy, yet equally pure and delicious.

Be sure to check out our website for fresh recipes for your balsamic collection!

Happy cooking,