Beneath the north wing of the Castello Banfi lies the long, evocative Balsameria, appearing as if a wine barrel cellar in miniature. In this place, once used as a remote storage for the castle, our precious Salsa Etrusca is born and evolves.
Salsa Etrusca, much more refined than most of the balsamic vinegars on the market today, is a nectar obtained using the traditional methods of the ancient Etruscans. The grapes are harvested late, when their sugars are concentrated, and gently pressed. The must is filtered and then simmered to reduce it in volume and futher concentrate its flavor. After cooling, it is transfered to wooden casks for 4 – 8 months. During this aging, the process of “balsamization” begins. Successively the balsamic is racked into progressively smaller barrels (from 60 to 25 liters) of different woods (oak, chestnut, cherry, ash and mulberry) until the filling of the last barrel, 25 liters, from which is emerges as salsa balsamica, following a period of aging that can take about 12 years.
Each year, only three liters of Salsa Etrusca are bottled
from each of the smallest barrels, which is successively topped off from the proceeding barrels. The barrels also decrease in size because of evaporation, which also concentrates flavor. Thanks to this complex aging system adapted by Banfi, it is possible to transform simple grape juice into our precious Salsa Etrusca, with its dark brown color, intoxicating and complex perfume, its rich viscosity and captivating taste. An excellent condiment to drizzle sparingly on risottos, and particulary adapted for using on white and red meats, steamed or roasted fish, on an omelette or in other bitter-sweet recipes. For its aromatic characteristics, it is also ideal with certain fruit-based desserts. A must-try drizzled on fresh strawberries, aged cheeses, and even vanilla ice cream.
Castello Banfi’s Salsa Etrusca is only available at our Enoteca and in select gourmet shops in Italy, given that its production is very limited.