The art of Balsamic is a serious business in Italy and is a process that has developed alongside the country's culture for thousands of years. Early descriptions of the process of Balsamic making are found in the Georgics, a poem written by the Latin poet Virgil dating back to 29-30 BC. San Giacomo is of the top producers of Balsamic and other kinds of vinegar located in Emilia Romagna, the only place that can produce DOP-certified Balsamic, much of which comes from Modena. However, San Giacomo operates in an old farmhouse built in the 1500s in the Emilian countryside outside the village of Novellara, about 30 minutes from Modena. Here San Giacomo produces an extensive line of traditional Balsamic aged up to 25 years old and special kinds of vinegar using different grapes and fruits. Traditionally, Balsamic vinegar was considered a stand-alone product and was used for medicinal and health purposes before it was considered an ingredient for cooking or as a condiment. San Giacomo produces three DOP Balsamics, a 12 year, 18 year, and a 25 year that are all fantastic, and there is nothing else like them but come with a price tag. As magnificent as a bottle of 25-year-old Balsamic is, a few hundred dollars is not for everyone. Even the 12 years can be hard to justify, which is why San Giacomo created the Essenza, to give the essence of Balsamic and be as close to DOP Certified as possible but at a friendlier price. The Essenza is made the same way as the DOP certified bottles, starting with certified organic Trebbiano grapes that are boiled down into must until a certain sugar content is reached before fermenting and aging fro 8 years. The Essenza is a rich, full-bodied Balsamic with an excellent balance between sweet and sour, showing notes of plum, spice, and a savory, woodsy notes. The perfect Balsamic for aged cheeses, on vegetables, meats, pasta, stirred into creamy risotto's at the very end for mouthwatering flavor, or most simply with olive oil and bread. It is a delicious Balsamic that is very impressive for the price, and that is after we tasted some very old and expensive Balsamic's. This Essenza is a special bottling featuring a sleek bottle with a cork and red wax seal and is usually unavailable, but we were able to get a limited quantity, so don't miss out! However, if we do run out, we can offer the same Balsamic but in a different bottle, please email to inquire!