Tasted these over three days:
1. Emilio Castelli RedWine Vinegar NV: Light garnet some browning color; very strong acetic acid bit EA some oak some grapey/winey complex nose; very hot/acetic/sharp/piercing some grapey/winey somewhat burning flavor; very concentrated acetic acid and less winey.
2. TomHill LaPaloma RedWine Vinegar NV : Pale garnet some browning color; very high EA less acetic acid some grapey/winey bit less hot/volatile bit more complex nose; very hot/acetic/sharp more grapey/winey more complex flavor; shows more winey character and not as hot/volatile.
3. TraderGiotto's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Aceto Balsamico di Modena PGI (6% acidity; wine vinegar + grape must + caramel color) NV: Dark brown rather PX color; lightly volatile/acetic acid rather grapey nose; some hot/acetic fairly grapey bit sweetish flavor; pretty classic example of industrial grade Balsamic vinegar.
A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. When we held NEB#1 at PaxMahle's WindGapWnry in Forestville (all of some 5 people), Emilio Castelli invited us all over to his house for dinner (Porcini rissoto). With the salad, we had some of his Ho-Made vinegar. The mother of this vinegar he got from his GrandFather and comes from the LakeComo home on the edge of LakeComo. It dates back to approximately 1860, which makes it even older than me. I liked it so much that he gave me a btl to take home to start my own vinegar. Which I've had an active ferment going on for some 8 yrs or more, right there on LaPaloma St in LosAlamos. Last Dec, Emilio sent me a btl of his current vinegar and I wanted to taste the two side-by-side.
Last Wed, we had Bill & Jane Easton over for wine/apps and I thought this would be a good opportunity to taste them together. Both of our vinegars are uncut/extra strength. Probably something like 8%-10% strength acetic acid. Most commercial vinegars are cut with water and clock in 5%-6%. To use in a vinaigrette, it needs to be used sparingly or cut with water.
I'm not certain how Emilio makes his vinegar. I have three 3-litre wine bttls actively acetifing. I leave a few inches of the current vinegar in the bottom of the btl and then continue to add leftover red wine until it almost comes to mid-shoulder. Then put a loose paper towel stopper and then let it does its job for several yrs.Then filter the vinegar off the top, btl it up, and start over again, preserving the vinegar mother in the sludge in the bottom. I've noted over the yrs that my vinegar has a pretty high EA level and not as acetic acid as conventional vinegars.
I'm certain that the acetobacters probably mutate over the yrs, so I have no idea if my acetobacter strain is identical to Emilios. I use pretty intense red wine leftovers (Bedrock/Carlisle/LimerickLane/etc) as feed stock, so I suspect that's why my vinegar is more grapey/winey than Emilio's, who probably uses a lot of wussy Nebbiolo in his.
Both of these vinegars clocked in at a pH of 5.8, about what I expected.
About an hour afore Bill&Jane arrived, I sat down and tasted these two side-by-side, drinking several ounces of each. That really burnt. And on an empty stomach. About 15 min afore they arrived, it hit me with the worst acid indigestion I can recall. I had to go outside and toss my cookies in the side yard and felt pretty miserable afore they got here.
I use my vinegar often to deglaze pans in which I've cooked meat. I use it sparingly in vinaigrettes. And oftentimes in meat marinades. I've long liked the Lucero Olive Oil company's Balsamic Vinegar. It's a vinegar that has a lot of grape concentrated must added to make it fairly sweet, some like a Balsamic Soba. I eat a lot of fresh tomatoes in the Summer and like it drizzled on the tomatoes w/ good olive oil and tons of fresh basil. Alas, Lucero is now out of business. So I often buy Balsamic Glaze, which is very sweet, and heavily dilute it with some of my vinegar as a substitute. It, of course, soes not compare with a very concentrated authentic Balsamic Vinegar. But that stuff is very expensive (and rightfully so) and I use it in small quantities as a condiment on strawberries and such. DarrellCorti has, of course, the best selection of true Aceto Balsamico Autentico Traditionale in the USofA. We also have a Balsamic Traditionale made here in NM that is quite good.

Edited by TomHill (06-27-2020 16:42:28)