Olive Oil Tastings


VeronaDeAmB

One Word: Exquisite (squisito!)

From the area of Valpolicella near to Verona, we present Oleum Oleae Tenimenti di Ambroxiis. We met Paolo in Veneto and were thrilled to be introduced to his perfect oil, an outstanding representation of the oils of Valpolicella.

This superior olive oil is a blend of the best Grignano, Leccino, Frantoio olives grown on the family farm in the territory of Verona. This is a beautiful representation of the hard to find olive oils of the region.

The exquisite oil is a yellow-gold with light tones of green. The aroma is lightly fruity as is typical of this zone of production. The taste opens sweet and progresses to a pleasantly lightly spicy finish.

Use raw as a finish to fish, vegetables, and risotto.

 

CastellodiBrolio_DM

Following on to our popular guest post on Wine and Olive Oil Tours from Pamela Sheldon Johns, we have even more ideas for Wine Touring throughout Italy.

If you are one who likes to plan everything to the smallest detail, you can do your homework in the US and then map out the wineries before leaving for Italy.  You will find that most wineries now have websites that list information about visits and tastings. The major wineries are very well organized.

For the important wineries, it is wise to reserve in advance to be sure that they will be open on the day you want, and someone will be available to translate in your language. Most DOC and DOCG wines have an informational organization that will list the wineries. Google the name of the wine you are interested in and the word consortium (or consorzio in Italian), and you should be able to find some contact info.

If you prefer someone to do the thinking for you, there are several excellent wine tour companies who will make all the arrangements for you.

Generally, olive oil tours are less common, so don’t expect the same structure as with wine.  Olio2Go can assist with contacting producers that are willing to give a tour, but it is best to check first.  Castello del Trebbio does both wine and olive oil tastings, and is located east of Florence.

Beginning at an enoteca is a good way to sample the region’s varieties and then formulate a plan a visit to the ones you really care about.  Most of the wine producing regions have a primary enoteca in the main town of the area.  Many of these carry both wine and oil to sample.

Some of our favorite wine tastings, tours, and enotecas (enoteche):

Tuscany

Avignonesi (must book in advance)

Badia a Coltibuono

Castello del Trebbio, Santa Brigida

Antinori (beautiful building). For a bit of history on Antinori opening to the public after 600 years, here’s an interesting article from Forbes.

Umbria

Marfuga (olive oil and other products), north of Spoleto

Gusto Umbrian Wine Tours, centered around Montefalco

Barberani (property and tasting room outside of town, enoteca in Orvieto)

Veneto

 Serego Alighieri, outside of Verona

 Enoteca “el loco” in Bardolino, on Lake Garda

Piemonte

Enoteca del Barolo, in Barolo

Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco, Barbaresco

Travel Langhe (organized tours of the entire region)

Sardinia

Ask the staff at Su Barchile in Orosei for suggestions for a really special tour of this rugged area

Sicily

Planeta (Menfi and several other properties), wonderful people

Donna Fugata, Marsala, very impressive story and winery

DiGiovanna, near Marsala, home to Gerbino Olive Oil

Please let us know the highlights of your wine and olive oil visits!

 

Olio2go Travel Guide, Guest Post by Pamela Sheldon Johns

 GrapesbyJeff
 Photo Credit: Jeff Chandler

A word about etiquette for wine-and-olive-oil tourists in Italy, with everything from how to book a tour, what to expect on a tour, what to pay for the tour, and how much you should plan to buy (and possibly ship back).

Bio: Pamela Sheldon Johns

Pamela Sheldon Johns is the author of seventeen books primarily about the traditional and regional foods of Italy. Her recent work includes Silver Spoon Sicily (Phaidon), Cucina Povera, Tuscan Peasant Cooking (Andrews McMeel), and Gelato! (Random House). She is currently working on Silver Spoon Puglia. 

Since 1992, Pamela has led food and wine workshops in several regions of Italy which have been praised by Food & Wine magazine, Wall Street Journal, Cooking Light magazine, and CNN Travel. 

In 2001 Pamela and her family opened Poggio Etrusco, an organic agriturismo/cooking school in southern Tuscany which has been featured in Travel + Leisure magazine. 

You can see more info about her at www.FoodArtisans.com and www.Poggio-Etrusco.com

 
 PSJ_WineGlasses
 Photo Credit: Pamela Sheldon Johns

Q: We’re independent travelers planning a trip to Italy and would like to visit a wine estate. What tips do you have for planning our visit?

A: Most wineries now have websites that list information about visits and tastings. It is wise to reserve in advance to be sure that they will be open on the day you want, and available in your language. Most DOC and DOCG wines have an informational organization that will list the wineries.

Google the name of the wine you are interested in and the word consortium (or consorzio in Italian), and you should be able to find some contact info. You will find that most wineries now have websites that list information about visits and tastings. The major wineries are very well organized.

For the important wineries, it is wise to reserve in advance to be sure that they will be open on the day you want, and someone will be available to translate in your language.

Q: Are there “admission fees”? Should we anticipate a certain fee? Are we expected to buy a number of bottles?

A: This really varies from winery to winery, but nowadays, you can expect to pay a tasting fee, while the visits are often free. There is no obligation to buy.

Q: Should we visit during the harvest? If not, what will we see at other times of the year?

A: You may get more attention when the harvest not going on. Most personnel will be in the vineyards and the cantina at that time!

Q: On our last trip when driving through Tuscany, we noticed hand painted signs advertising wine visits. Can we just drive up the driveway? Should we ask our hotel to call ahead?

A: I would consider those signs an invitation, but if you don’t feel comfortable dropping in, note the name and location, and ask your hotel to set up a visit.

Q: Are there any “don’ts”? We don’t want to be bad guests!

A: Obviously, you don’t want to overdrink. Be mindful of the time allotted for your visit, as there may be other guests arriving for the next tour. Be mindful of the time and try to avoid visiting between noon and 3pm as the family and workers may be enjoying their lunch.

Q: What are the DWI laws in Italy? Should we get a driver for the day?

A: In recent years, the laws have become more strict, and should be considered for your own safety as well. A driver is a great solution, but you can also learn a lot about wine by swishing it in your mouth and spitting. Buy a bottle and enjoy it when you get back to your agriturismo or hotel. If you prefer not to worry about it, you may wish to consider a custom tour.

Q: What will a typical tour include?

Some wineries start in the vineyards and speak about agricultural practices, and most wineries include a walk through the process, from the area where grapes enter and are pressed, through the fermentation and barrel room, all the way to bottling and, finally, the tasting room.

Q: May we ask the winery about olive oil?

A: Of course! Most wine producers also have other products, and will have them available in the tasting room.

 
 PSJ_OliveOilPhoto
 Photo Credit: Pamela Sheldon Johns

On another day, we would like to visit an olive farm. Can you recommend favorites in Tuscany?

I would like to propose my own organic farm, Poggio Etrusco in Montepulciano, where we would be happy to welcome you for an afternoon tasting (we are usually busy with cooking classes in the mornings). I am a certified olive oil taster, and can give you some interesting guidelines for tasting olive oils.  {Note from Olio2go: To join Pamela’s Harvest program, start here: olive harvest program}

Q: On our last trip when driving through Tuscany and Umbria, we noticed hand painted signs advertising olive oil. Can we just drive up the driveway? Should we ask our hotel to call ahead?

A: I would consider those signs an invitation, but if you don’t feel comfortable dropping in, note the name and location, and ask your hotel to set up a visit.

Q: Should we visit during the harvest? If not, what will we see at other times of the year?

A: The olives are usually pressed from mid-October through November or December, depending on the area and weather. It could be interesting to visit a frantoio (olive oil mill). When not working, some mills will let you see the equipment and do an olive oil tasting. One friend of mine in Chianciano Terme (SI) has a video in several languages that shows the entire process.

Q: Will there be a fee? Or are we expected to make a purchase?

A: Every producer is different, but there isn’t usually a fee for a simple olive oil tasting. No one is obligated to buy.

Q: Will food be provided?

A: Bread is sometimes offered for an olive oil tasting.

Q: How do we express our thanks to the host?

Learn to say thank you in Italian. “Grazie” or “Grazie mille” will always be appreciated.

In an upcoming post we will “visit” wine producers and enotecas, so be sure to subscribe to this blog.

As a starting point, for an olive oil tour, consider these producers in Tuscany:

Poggio Etrusco  (buy here)

Oliveto Fonte di Foiano  (buy here)

Badia a Coltibuono (buy here)

La Poderina Toscana (buy here)

Castello del Trebbio (buy here soon)

We hope you enjoy your next trip to Italy. Please let us know of your favorite wine and olive oil visits, by sending a note to Olio2go’s Customer Service

nyiooc

The premier New York International Olive Oil Competition was a great success with three days of speakers and the culminating awards ceremony for top extra virgin olive oils. Kudos to the folks at Olive Oil Times for their new event.

It is always fun to attend an olive oil event, and we enjoy the casual, in the hallway, meetings for what one can continue to learn about the world of olive oil. The presentations included formal tastings, discussions on price and value, the pride of countries (notably Spain and Italy), international agreements, and olive oil frontiers (olive oil in India).

When the awards were announced, Italy led the pack in the number of total medals!

We currently have several of the award winners, with more enroute across the Atlantic.

In Stock Now (all 2012 Harvest):

Fratelli Colletti, Silver

Ravida, Gold

Cutrera Primo DOP, Gold

DeCarlo, DOP Torre de Mossa 2012, Best of Class

Titone DOP Valli Trapanesi, Gold

Albereto, Badia a Coltibuono, Silver

Crudo, Gold Medal

Quattrociocchi Olivastro, Gold

Franci, Toscano IGP, Best of Class

Franci, Villa Magra, Best of Class

Franci, Olivastra Seggianese, Gold (coming soon)

Luna Vera, Sardinia, Gold

Olio Librandi, Monocultivar, Carolea, Organic, Gold

 

The full list of awards can be seen here.

Agrumato Lemon HerbFabulous food blogger Adri Barr Crocetti took Agrumato Lemon & Herbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a test drive.

“…because the olives are pressed simultaneously with the lemons the oil exhibits a remarkable harmony of flavor…”

She packs recipe ideas into her post…with snacking ideas and a marvelous Fresh Mushroom and Herb Salad. If you are wondering about the Nepitella as we were, AllThingsTuscan has a post as well.

Click here for the blog post and recipes.

Nepitella seeds can be purchased here.

Los Angeles Olive Oil Award Winners ~ Currently in Stock!

Los Angeles Olive Oil Award Winners ~ Currently in Stock!

(Updated 4 June 2013)

Each year the LA Awards are among the most exciting. They have just announced the Northern Hemisphere Awards and we currently have seven selections in stock (with more coming soon).

These producers are also to be praised for their year-over-year quality. A win-place-or-show is no fluke. Their medals and ribbons are truly a testament to their traditions of excellence.

Available Now!

Best of Class, Best of Show

FATTORIA RAMERINO Robust, Primus, Guadagnolo 2013

BEST OF SHOW – INTERNATIONAL – Robust, BEST OF CLASS, GOLD MEDAL

Gold

VILLA ZOTTOPERA GOLD MEDAL Medium, Organic, Chiramonte Gulfi 2013

PLANETA DOP, GOLD MEDAL Robust, Val di Mazara DOP

 

Silver

FRANTOI CUTRERA Primo DOP, SILVER MEDAL Robust, Tonda Iblea, Monti Iblei DOP 2012

OLIO VERDE, SILVER MEDAL Robust, Nocellara del Belice, Sicily

FATTORIA RAMERINO, SILVER MEDAL Medium, Dulcis, Guadagnolo 2013

CRUDO, SILVER MEDAL Medium, Ogliarola, Puglia

Bronze

FONTE DI FOIANO, BRONZE MEDAL Medium, Moraiolo, Tuscany 2013

FRESCOBALDI LAUDEMIO, BRONZE MEDAL Medium, Tuscany

TITONE BRONZE MEDAL Medium, Sicily

Coming Soon!

OLIO LIBRANDI, SILVER MEDAL Medium, Nocellara Del Belice, Organic, Calabria 2013 (coming soon!)

The full list of awards can be seen here.

Biol_2013

(Updated 4 June 2013)

This week we received updates on the competitions, Ercole Olivario XXI 2013 and Biol 2013.

Marfuga has informed us that their olive oil was noted as the best extra-virgin Italian olive oil in the Ercole Olivario 2013 competition. Many congratulations to all!

Among our current list of olive oils and producers, these producers received recognition at Ercole Olivario 2013.

Franci Toscano IGP

Franci, Villa Magra

Cutrera Primo DOP

Marfuga (we carry Marfuga L’affiorante)

The remarkable oils at BIOL 2013 are:

LABEL, COMPANY, REGION, COUNTRY, MENTION, EXCELLENCE, In Stock status?

  • Librandi Monocultivar Nocellara Del Belice, Azienda Agricola Librandi Pasquale, Calabria, Italia, GOLD, EXTRAGOLD, Coming Soon to Olio2go
  • Quattrociocchi Olivastro Itrana Etichetta Nera, Azienda Agricola Americo Quattrociocchi, Lazio, Italia, GOLD, EXTRAGOLD
  • Primo Bio, Frantoi Cutrera Di Cutrera G.&C. Snc, Sicilia, Italia, GOLD, EXTRAGOLD, Primo DOP in stock
  • Titone DOP Valli Trapanesi, Azienda Agricola Biologica Titone, Sicilia, Italia, GOLD, EXTRAGOLD, In stock now
  • Centonze, Azienda Agricola Antonino Centonze, Sicilia, Italia, GOLD, Coming Soon
  • Gudagnolo Primus, Fattoria Ramerino di Filippo Alampi, Toscana, Italia, GOLD
  • 46 Parallelo Biologico, Agraria Riva Del Garda, Trentino Alto Adige, Italia, GOLD, We have Uliva and 1111 from Agr. Riva del Garda
  • Argento, La Poderina Toscana, Toscana, Italia, SILVER,  Argento is available
  • Affiorante, Azienda Agraria Marfuga, Umbria, Italia, SILVER, In Stock Now

This is an update to our earlier post on the 2013 olive oil competitions, which can be seen here.

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