RadarFlorenceSept2014

For three months now there have been stunning reports of the difficult, challenging, and horrible olive harvest in Italy. Decades have passed since such a crisis last occurred, and that, the Tuscan freeze of 1985, did not reach the broad geographical proportions of this one.

During the month of October, we learned of the losses on a daily basis. Each phone call and email told a tale of crop failures and weather issues. Few areas were immune. In general, windstorms, rain, a cool summer, and a hailstorm were the weather issues. A bug and a fungus took hold as well.

Videos of the 18 September 2014 hailstorm in Tuscany can be seen here and here.

As reported to us, the harvests in Sicily were early and small. Problems were noted from The Veneto to Puglia. Producers in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, and Abruzzo piled on tales of woe.

Outstanding producers chose to bottle no oil in the fall of 2014: Tenuta di Capezzana, Poggio Etrusco, Avignonesi, Fattoria di Monti, Decimi, and others.  We were informed of difficulties among many others who have valiantly produced much smaller quantities than normal. And, need we mention price increases?

There is a human toll that goes far beyond the kitchen table. Families, including farm workers, and bottlers, have experienced reduced wages from the poor harvest. Quality olive oil will likely cost more than ever.

Remembering that there are always variations in characteristics for year to year, the 2014s we have tasted provide a remarkable testament to the skills of the producers. Aromatic, fresh, grassy, bitter, and spicy can all be found in our lucky bottles.

Jan2015Grp

We continue to remain optimistic as we have carefully sourced 30 selections so far this season. Our full line of new olive oils (many shown in photo) can be purchased here.

Frantoi Cutrera, Frescolio and Primo DOP

La Poderina Toscana Organic, Oro and Argento

Gianfranco Becchina’s Olio Verde Novello

Frescobaldi First Pressing

Titone Novello

Santisi Novello

Azienda del Carmine, Ascolana and Olio del Carmine

CantinArte OroPuro

di Giovanna (Gerbino Biologica)

Marfuga L’Affiorante 

Villa Zottopera Bio and Rosso

Fratelli Colletti

Fattoria Ramerino Primus and Cultivar Frantoio

Principe di Mascio, Novello and DOP

Quattrociocchi Olivastro

In the coming months we look forward to arrivals of many more selections from Italy, including favorites such as:

Olio Librandi

Centonze

Gargiulo Sorrentolio Venus

La Pennita, Alina

Castello del Trebbio

Badia a Coltibuono

Our challenge is to continue to bring in the best Italian extra virgin olive oil in quantities to carry us through to the 2015 harvest.

 

For more information on the topic of the 2014 olive harvest, we recommend the following clicks:

New York Times: Amid bugs, hail, floods…

Los Angeles Times: Europe Suffers Olive Oil Disaster

NPR: Olive Oil Producers in Crisis

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!

 

Celebrate the Best Olive Oils from Italy!

AwardWinnersMarchApril2014

 

2014 Los Angeles Award Winners at Olio2go

2014 Los Angeles Award Winners at Olio2go

 

 

(Updated June 2014)

Just as with wine, there are international olive oil awards. The most recent award presentations can be found through the links below, and these very rare olive oils, available for purchase in the U.S. at Olio2go, are listed here.

BIOL International, March 2014

Olio Capitale: Annual Competition held in Trieste, March 2014

SOL/Vinitaly: SOL is held in together with Vinitaly in Verona, April 2014

New York International Olive Oil Competition, April 2014

Los Angeles International Olive, April 2014

 

The following award winners are currently available at Olio2go. All are extra virgin olive oils from the most recent harvest.

Centonze Extra Virgin Olive Oil

BIOL, Gold, Silver

Los Angeles: Gold Medal

Crudo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Los Angeles: Silver Medal

DeCarlo Arcamone

BIOL, ExtraGold

Olio Capitale: Finalist, Intense

Fattoria Ramerino Primus Extra Virgin Olive Oil

BIOL, ExtraGold

Los Angeles: Gold Medal

Fattoria Ramerino Dulcis  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Los Angeles: Gold Medal

Fattoria Ramerino Cultivar Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Los Angeles:  Marco Mugelli Prize, Best of Show, Best of Class, Gold Medal

Fattoria Ramerino Cultivar Moraiolo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Los Angeles: Gold Medal

Fonte di Foiano “1979”

Los Angeles: Gold Medal

Frantoi Cutrera Primo DOP

BIOL, ExtraGold

NYIOOC: Gold, Robust, Tonda Iblei

Los Angeles: Bronze Medal

Fratelli Colletti Extra Virgin Olive Oil

NYIOOC: Gold, Robust, Biancolilla

Los Angeles: Silver Medal

Frescobaldi Laudemio

Los Angeles: Bronze Medal

Gianfranco Becchina Olio Verde

NYIOOC: Silver, Medium, Nocellara del Belice

La Poderina Toscana Oro DOP Seggianese

BIOL, Gold

La Poderina Toscana Argento

BIOL, Gold

Marfuga L’affiorante

BIOL, Gold

Ascolana, Azienda del Carmine

Los Angeles: Gold Medal, Best of Class

Olio Librandi Nocellara del Belice (Tenute Librandi Pasquale)

BIOL, ExtraGold, 1* BIOL Calabria

Quattrociocchi Olivastro

BIOL, Gold

NYIOOC: Gold, Medium, Itrana

SOL: Bronze, Organic

Tenuta di Capezzana

NYIOOC: Gold, Medium

Titone DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

BIOL, ExtraGold

NYIOOC: Silver, Medium

Villa Zottopera (BIO sold out 6/24/14)

Los Angeles: Gold Medal

Don’t miss out! Some of these are already in short supply at Olio2go.

New2014

With the arrivals of the new harvest olive oils comes the first of the new awards and recognitions for high quality extra virgin olive oil.

The 2014 Flos Olei, published early in the harvest year, is the well regarded Marco Oreggia review of olive oils. In general, Flos Olei 2014 awarded the 2012 harvest selections. It is seen by many as a watchdog of consistent quality in the industry with the idea that the recognized producers provide consistently exceptional olive oils from year to year. You can see last year’s list here.

In the 2014 edition, Flos Olei’s Top 20 awards three of the olive oils we regularly carry. Most notably, we already have Quattrociocchi’s Olivastro Bio 2013, awarded Best Olive Oil from Organic Farming by Flos Olei’s Marco Orreggia.

From the Top 20

Farm of the Year: DeCarlo (new harvest coming soon)

Best Olive Oil from Organic Farming: Quattrociocchi Olivastro Bio 2013

Best Extra Virgin Intensely FruityFrantoio Franci Villa Magra

The Flos Olei guide lists an abundance of well-regarded olive oil producers (we will carry harvest 2013 selections – they are in stock or on order):

Trentino Alto – Adige

Frantoio di Riva, 2013 in stock!

Emilia Romagna

Tenuta Pennita, Alina in stock

Toscana

Tenuta di Capezzana, 2013 in stock

Oliveto Fonte di Foiano, samplers in stock, more expected in early January

Frantoio Franci, selections

La Poderina Toscana, Oro and Argento in stock

Fattoria di Monti, three selections in stock

Fattoria Ramerino, Guadagnòlo Primus in stock!

Marche

Azienda del Carmine, arriving January 2014

Umbria

Az. Agr. Marfuga, L’affiorante in stock

Lazio

Società Agricola Colli Etruschi, arriving soon

Az Agr Bio Americo Quattrociocchi, in stock

Campania

Madonna dell’Olivo, Raro and Itrans selections available

Puglia

Az. Agr. DeCarlo, restocking soon

Calabria

Tenute Pasquale Librandi, selections arriving January 2014

Sicily

Azienda Agricola Antonino Centonze, Arriving January 2014

Frantoi Cutrera, in stock

Planeta, selections available

Azienda Agricola Ravida, selections available

Azienda Agricola Biologica Titone, 2013 coming soon!

SlowFood2013

Slow Food 2013 has just been released and we have a copy that is fresh off the press (just like great olive oil)!

The guide carries notations on 1131 quality olive oils from 772 notable producers in Italy.

LE CHIOCCIOLE (The Snail): best representation of the values and qualities of Slow Food.

The following abundant selections are in stock at Olio2go.com!

Emilia Romagna

Tenuta Pennita

Lazio

Colli Etruschi

Sicily

Titone

Gli Olio Slow: representing quality cultivation, sustainable practices, and good value for oils from the named region.

Lazio

Olivastro, Quattrociocchi

Grand Oli: excellence in respective category for organoleptic quality, adherence to the territory customs, and native cultivars

Campania, Madonna dell’Oliva, Raro

Emilia Romagna, Alina from La Pennita

Puglia, Torre di Mossa from DeCarlo

Sicily, Titone DOP

Toscana, Ramerino Dulcis

Toscana, Fonte di Foiano Gran Cru

Toscana, Fonte di Foiano, Frantoio Monocultivar

Toscana, Frantoio Franci, Villa Magra Gran Cru

Noted Estates

Trentino Alto-Adige, Agraria Riva del Garda

Emilia-Romagna,  Tenuta Pennita

Toscano, Fattoria Ramerino, Primus e Dulcis

Toscano, Tenuta di Capezzana

Toscano, Fonte di Foiano

Toscano, Frantoio Franci

Toscano, La Poderina Toscana

Toscano, Frescobaldi

Toscano, Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini, Poppiano, Laudemio

Toscano, Fattoria di Monti, Razzo, Monti

Umbria, Marfuga

Lazio, Americo Quattrociocchi

Lazio, Colli Etruschi

Abruzzo, La Quagliera

Campania, Madonna dell’Olivo, Raro, Itrans

Puglia, De Carlo

Sicilia, Centonze

Sicilia, Frantoi Cutrera

Sicilia, Villa Zottopera

Sicilia, Planeta

Sicilia, Titone

Sardegna, Sebastiano Fadda

For the full list of Slow Food – recognized olive oils currently in stock at Olio2go, click here.

Imagine that you spent your lifetime tending the family’s groves… toiling to prune, worrying about the weather, keeping pests at bay, and in the end, each and every year, producing an olive oil that met the high standards of the family and the regional consortia. At some point wouldn’t you want to know if your oil could compete with the best across Italy or throughout the world?

Of course you would.

So, you enter your magnificent oil in one of the top competitions, in Zurich, Los Angeles, Verona, Perugia or Trieste. And, if all goes well, years of toil will be rewarded.

All will be even better if there’s a way to reach consumers of great olive oil—the wonderful consumers, reading this, who enjoy the best in the world of olive oil.

Over the years we’ve built relationships with these top producers and with other importers. We’ve carefully selected oils that represent the best of Italian extra virgin olive oils. We have a wide range of “winners” in stock right now. (There’s no other retailer in the U.S. with as large a selection of Italian extra virgin olive oil award winners!)

Fresh Award Winners, Currently in stock:

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi

Alina, La Pennita in Brisighella

Crudo Extra Virgin, Schiralli

Monti, Giovanni Querci, Fattoria di Monti

Cutrera Primo DOP Monti Iblei Gulfi

DeCarlo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Planeta DOP Val di Mazara

Marfuga L’affiorante

Principe di Mascio DOP Colli Assisi – Spoleto

Agrumato Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fratelli Colletti Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Colli Etruschi Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We will be modifying this list as soon as additional award winners arrive in our warehouse. As soon as they are in the warehouse, links will be added.

Olio Capitale, Trieste, March 2012

Winner – Medium Intensity Titone Biologica – DOP Valli Trapanesi
Semi-Finalist Olivastro, Quattrociocchi, Itrana Monocultivar, Fruttato Medio
Semi-Finalist Cetrone Intenso, Az. Agr. Alfredo Cetrone

SOL at Vinitaly, Verona, March 2012

Gran Menzione (Medio): Cetrone Intenso from Azienda Agricola Cetrone Alfredo

Gran Menzione (Medio): Frantoio Franci, Le Trebbiane

Gran Menzione (Intenso)

Azienda Madonna dell’Olivo – Raro – Sold out!

Gran Manzione (Intenso): Azienda Agricola Mandranova, coming soon

Gran Manzione (Intenso): Olivastro, Az. Agr. Quattrociocchi

Gran Manzione (Intenso): Rosso, Az. Villa Zottopera

Gambero Rosso presented at Vinitaly, March 2012 (Verona)

“Tre foglie d’oro 2012”

Raro – Madonna dell’Olivo , Campania, SOLD OUT

Selezione Alina Monocultivar Nostrana di Brisighella – Tenuta Pennita, Emilia Romagna

Cetrone Intenso, Monocultivar Itrana – Alfredo Cetrone, Lazio

Olivastro Monocultivar Itrana Bio – Americo Quattrociocchi, Lazio

Crudo Monocultivar Ogliarola – Schiralli, Puglia

Planeta DOP Val di Mazara, Sicily

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi, Sicily

Gran Cru Monocultivar Nocellara Etnea – Frantoi Cutrera – Chiaramonte Gulfi (Rg), Sicily, coming soon

Rosso – Villa Zottopera – Chiaramonte Gulfi (Rg), Sicily

Monti – Giovanni Querci Fattoria di Monti, Tuscany

Villa Magra Gran Cru – Frantoio Franci, Tuscany

Marfuga L’Affiorante Monocultivar Moraiolo, Umbria

Principe di Mascio DOP Colli Assisi Spoleto, Umbria

Ercole Olivario, Perugia, March 2012

Alfredo Cetrone di Sonnino, Lazio, 2nd Place, Intensely Fruity

Primo DOP Monti Iblei – Gulfi, 2nd Place, DOP Intensely Fruity

Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition, April 2012

Agrumato Lemon – Silver, Delicate

Crudo Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Gold Medal

Cutrera Primo DOP – Best of Class, Gold Medal

Fratelli Colletti – Silver Medal

Olio Verde – Silver Medal, Robust, Nocellara del Belice

Planeta DOP – Silver, Robust

Titone Biologica DOP – Gold Medal, Medio Fruttato

Rosso, Villa Zottopera – Gold Medal

Zurich – International Olive Oil Award

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi

Cutrera Primo DOP

Slow Food

Colli Etruschi Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lazio

Titone Biologica DOP Valli Trapanesi, Sicily

Olio Slow:

Tenuta Pennita – Monte Poggiolo Selezione Alina, Emilia Romagna

Olivastro Biologica, Americo Quattrociocchi, Lazio

GRANDE OLIO:

Frantoio Franci – Villa Magra Grand Cru, Tuscany

Marfuga – L’Affiorante, Umbria

Alfredo Cetrone – Cetrone Intenso, Lazio

Madonna dell’Olivo – Raro, Campania – SOLD OUT

…. all at www.olio2go.com !

Principe di Mascio, Rosso, and Trapetto di Caprafico DOP

Top Award Winners

Some folks choose the grocery store oil, assuming it to be extra virgin olive oil. Knowledgable consumers are skeptical, and true fans of olive oil seek award winners. With any of these selections your choices will be a long way from the grocery store shelves. These 2010 olive oils and their coveted awards represent the best olive oils in the world — and these are the top Italian selections.

We scour the olive oil awards as they are released each year (you can find links on our web site) both to identify the awards received by our current producers and to look for new oils to stock. Five major award presentations have been announced in 2011 awards (for 2010 harvest oils). The last major awards are bestowed in June, and those are the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Awards.

Slow Food – the leading authority on authentic, traditional olive oil, awards released May 2011

“Garland” –
Frantoio Franci estate, oils arriving in June

“Tre Olive” –
La Pennita, Alina, Brisighella
Ravida
Titone Biologica DOP
Frescobaldi Laudemio

“Gli Extravergini dell’Emozione” –
Trappeto di Caprafico Organic DOP
Raro, Madonna dell’Oliva
Colli Etruschi
Villa Magra Gran Cru (2009 currently available, 2010 arriving in June)
Villa Magra dei Franci (arriving in June)
Marfuga L’affiorante
Principe di Mascio DOP

International Olive Oil Awards – Zurich (award released April 2011)
Titone Biologica DOP, Golden Olive
Primo DOP Special Mention, Fruttato Intenso, also Gran Menzione in the DOP Category

Sirena d’Oro di Sorrento (awards released March 2011)
Trappeto di Caprifico, Bio, DOP – Second Place, Fruttato Medio
Titone Bio DOP, Fruttato Intenso, 1st place
Principe di Mascio DOP, 2nd place, Fruttato Medio

National Competition L’orciolo d’Oro 2011 (awards released March 2011)
Principe di Mascio DOP DOP Category, 3rd place
La Poderina Toscana Organic, DOP Category, Gran Menzione
Rosso from Villa Zottopera, Gran Menzione, Fruttato Intenso
Ravida, Gran Menzione, Fruttato Leggero
Raro Madonna dell’Oliva, 1st Place, Fruttato Intenso
Titone DOP Biologica, Special Mention, Fruttato Medio; also Organic, Gran Menzione

SOL/Vinitaly
Olio de la Marchia, Ascolana – Gran Mention, Fruttato Medio
Rosso from Villa Zottopera, Bronze, Fruttato Medio
Trappeto di Caprifico (Masciantonio), Bio, DOP – Special Mention, Fruttato Intenso
Frantoio Franci, Gran Menzione (arriving in June)
Titone DOP Biologica – Gran Menzione