My Recommendation For First Timers
I often recommend that those who are new to authentic balsamic vinegar start off with the 12 Year Seasoned. Depite it being our most affordable product there's a dramatic difference between the Seasoned and what you can find at the grocery store.
I like to say that it's a great way to "cover your bases" with a product that can be used for everyday items and it acts as an affordable introduction into the world of authentic balsamic vinegar.
Why I Suggest This
While older is typically seen as better when it comes to balsamic vinegar, that does not mean that an older and more expensive product will necessarily make a difference in all situations.
For example, if I put three slices of fresh mozzarella next to each other with each type of balsamic vinegar.
It's unlikely you'll notice the difference as mozzarella tends to dull the flavor in my opinion. I love pairing my 12 Year Seasoned with mozzarella however I would never consider pouring my precious 20 Year over it.
If You Are Looking For Something More
I like to use the 12 Year Reserve with a lot of the same things that I pair with the Seasoned. If you experience both you will notice that the Reserve makes a lot of these pairings a bit smoother.
If you're looking for a balsamic vinegar to be used with medium & extra seasoned cheeses, all types of meat, and certain fish such as salmon & squid the difference is clear. The 20 Year is your best choice.
When reading the vineyard's recommendations shown on our FAQ, you'll see that there is a bit of overlap between the 20 Year and the 12 Year balsamic vinegars. In these instances you'll notice that the 20 Year transforms these pairings in a delicate yet sophisticated way. I love vanilla ice cream with the 12 Year Seasoned and 12 Year Reserve but if you're looking for something even more extraordinary the 20 Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar manages to elevate this pairing even further.
In conclusion choosing the right balsamic vinegar for you really depends on what you plan on using it for.