THE THREE CATEGORIES
PROTECTING AND ENRICHING TRADITION
PROTECTING AND ENRICHING TRADITION All the goodness of this P.D.O. label product is guaranteed by the Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia. Based on the results of the tasting, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is classified into three categories: Oro, Argento and Aragosta.
Oro, Argento and Aragosta, corresponding to the colours of the stickers (gold, silver and burnt orange) applied to the typical little bottles of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia, which identify the different product types obtained with different periods of aging, always longer than 12 years. This was a choice made by the Consortium of Producers of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia, upon its foundation in 1986, in order to guarantee transparency for consumers. In 2000, the European Community, when Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia joined the prestigious list of products with a Protected Denomination of Origin label, drafted a regulation that establishes the following:
• all producers must be certified by an independent Certification Body recognised by the CE and authorised by the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. This Entity is entrusted with carrying out checks at each stage of the production chain, and issues the certification only once it has verified that the regulations governing production have been strictly complied with;
• all products must have the density and acidity values indicated in the production regulations, verified by means of specific analyses conducted in ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories; the pertinent certificates are then sent to the Certification Body to check they are fully compliant;
• after the samples have been anonymised by the Certification Body responsible, fitness for sale and the quality characteristics of the products to be bottled are established during the organoleptic testing session conducted by a board of five master tasters, who use a specific form to express their judgement by awarding each sample a score based on the sensations transmitted by the product;
• products judged fit for sale must be bottled in the province of Reggio Emilia using exclusively bottles of the shape and capacity provided for in the production regulations;
• all the bottling activities must be carried out in the presence of the Certification Body, which must check how the bottles are filled and how they are stopped and sealed with wax. Once these operations have been completed, the Certification Body supplies the producer with the stickers, each of which has a progressive number for product traceability, in the colour corresponding to the quality of the product bottled.