19 January 2020 - Director LUIGI CARICATO - staff@olioofficina.net

log in - register - advertising - donate

knowledge > vinegars

The essential vinegar glossary

Following is a brief guide to the most common terms regarding vinegar. An indispensable glossary for whoever wants to enter into this fascinating but little-known world

Luigi Caricato

The essential vinegar glossary

When preparing this text we tried to keep the language simple, and make it accessible to all. This useful glossary explains a few technical terms and will hopefully clarify the more complicated aspects of vinegar production.

AAB (Acetic Acid Bacteria): Any of the genus Acetobacter bacteria responsible for the acetic fermentation of an alcoholic liquid such as wine; they oxidize ethanol and contribute to forming the so-called mother of vinegar.

“Acetaia”: a term typical of the balsamic vinegar production zone (Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy), indicating the rooms where the vinegar is produced and aged; these rooms possess the ideal conditions of temperature and aeration for the processes of acetous fermentation, maturation and ageing.

Acetous fermentation: the process by which AAB trigger a series of chemical reactions, transforming an alcoholic solution into acetaldehyde first and subsequently, acetic acid, to give what is commonly referred to as “vinegar”.

Acidic: the sharp, biting sensation perceived by nose and mouth that is typical of vinegar, and all other substances that have undergone acetous fermentation.

Alcoholic fermentation: a yeast-dependent process by which the sugars present in grape must are transformed into ethylic alcohol, to give wine; acetous fermentation follows, transforming the ethylic alcohol thus obtained into acetaldehyde first and then acetic acid, to give what is commonly known as vinegar (see Acetous fermentation).

Body: tactile sensation perceived in the mouth defining the degree of density, viscosity and consistency of the vinegar.

Flavour: the range of sensations perceived in the mouth and by the nose, which determine the sensory quality of the vinegar, with all its positive and negative traits.

Flavouring: the addition of specific, aromatic compounds to enrich the natural flavour of vinegar. Flavouring with herbs or spices is carried out by infusion or with the addition of up to 5% extracts.

Fragrance: the crisp, pleasant scent perceived when tasting the vinegar.
Mother of vinegar (or simply mother): a slimy membrane that develops on the surface of alcoholic liquids undergoing acetous fermentation. A bacterial culture that is employed to accelerate the fermentation process.

Organoleptic: relating to the characters and qualities of a vinegar that are perceived by the sense organs upon tasting. Examples of organoleptic features are: glossy brown colour, pungent scent, bittersweet flavour.

Oxologist: vinegar expert or connoisseur – from the Greek oxos, vinegar. A qualification corresponding to that of the oenologist in the wine sector.

Oxygenation: aeration allowing the microorganisms causing acetous fermentation to become active and transform the alcoholic substrate into vinegar.

Pasteurization: industrial process during which vinegar is heated to a temperature that kills harmful germs and then cooled quickly. The vinegar is thus protected from the attacks of all pathogenic microorganisms and enzymes.

Shavings: thin slivers of beech, fir, pine or other resinous wood that are added inside the barrels to boost acetous fermentation. When making vinegar at home, it is more common to add pieces of bread.

“Vaselli”: the Italian term for the casks forming the barrel sets used for aging balsamic vinegar. Each cask of the set differs in size and wood type, so that over the entire maturation process the vinegar can take on some of the aromatic compounds of the different woods.


Luigi Caricato - 15-02-2015 - All rights reserved

Luigi Caricato


Antico Borgo, the scent and flavours of the Frantoio, Moraiolo and Leccino trine

Antico Borgo, the scent and flavours of the Frantoio, Moraiolo and Leccino trine

A Tuscan PGI oil made by Terre dell’Etruria, a farming cooperative society that has invested all it has on its members, expertly helping and guiding them towards quality and success. The most impressive features of this extra virgin oil, flavour apart, are its remarkable quality/price ratio and extraordinary yield > Luigi Caricato

Ravioli with Garda extra virgin olive oil stuffing and black olive charcoals

Ravioli with Garda extra virgin olive oil stuffing and black olive charcoals

Extra Virgin Garda DOP olive oil’s distinctive traits are its naturally delicate flavor and its elegance. At the taste it can be recognized for harmony or its organoleptic notes and for the light and balanced aromas: the scents of fresh grass, aromatic herbs, hay and artichoke, together with the typical almond aftertaste, make it unique. Recipe by chef Carlo Bresciani

Olio Turri's blog, a happy exception

Olio Turri's blog, a happy exception

Very few oil producers run blogs. Turri's, with its minimalistic design, is both simple and elegant. It is also available in English: posts are published at regular intervals and dispatched through newsletters > Luigi Caricato


The art of healthy eating

The fruit of tradition, care and a passion for quality. Our story starts here, in Puglia. The beating heart of the Mediterranean Sea. This is the birthplace of our oil-making art, an art that has always considered olives as a living body. Video Spot Corporate by Masseria di Sant'Eramo