Cooper Mountain Vineyards has released a hand-crafted 6-year-old balsamic vinegar made from certified organic and biodynamic grapes grown on their estate in the Willamette Valley. The Vecchio Tradizionale Apicio Aceto Balsamico was produced from 27-year-old chardonnay and pinot noir vines following the 2000 harvest and was aged in a succession of wood barrels (oak, chestnut, mulberry, cherry and robina) from Modena, Italy.
Cooper Mountain hopes to bring the concept and the standards of Aceto Balsamico Tranditionale from Modena to the US.
Although the current release is young for a traditional balsamic (Aceto Balsamico is aged a minimum of 12 years), Apicio has a texture and flavor that is surprisingly mature. It is thick and rich with aromas of port, caramel and wood, showing none of the sharpness or fruitiness typical of a young balsamic. Itâ€™s not a vinegar to be splashed recklessly about; itâ€™s best drizzled over a platter of ripe pairs and salty cheese or as a final flourish on cooked meats and vegetables. With only 150 3.5-ounce bottles available at $60 apiece, careful consumption is a wise idea, assuming you can get your hands on a bottle.
Luckily there are also 12- and 15-month-old selections in the works.
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Btw, Araujo has released some 9-year-old Balsamic style vinegar. (I don’t have the details of how it’s made.)