Business

Italian Brands Earn 124 Awards at NYIOOC

Facing one of the worst seasons in recent years, Italy achieved 124 awards, including 4 Best in Class, 82 Gold Awards and 38 Silver Awards at the 2017 NYIOOC, demonstrating that great results can be reached under challenging conditions.

Amanda Kenny, director of business development for Domenica Fiore, the Orvieto producer awarded with 4 Gold Awards and a Blest in Class Award at the 2017 NYIOOC (Photo: NYIOOC)
May. 6, 2017
By Ylenia Granitto
Amanda Kenny, director of business development for Domenica Fiore, the Orvieto producer awarded with 4 Gold Awards and a Blest in Class Award at the 2017 NYIOOC (Photo: NYIOOC)

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Once again, Italy achieved major suc­cess at the 2017 New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC), with a record 124 awards among 198 entries. The coun­try ranked first in both the number of con­tes­tants and awarded brands. Italian pro­duc­ers achieved out­stand­ing results even after fight­ing the hard­ships of one of the worst har­vest sea­sons in recent times, which reduced thier usual pro­duc­tion by half.

The New York com­pe­ti­tion is a major show­case and the favor­able appraisal of such an inter­na­tional high-level panel is an impor­tant recog­ni­tion of our ded­i­ca­tion.- Nicolangelo Marsicani, Frantoio DOP Cilento

Italian pro­duc­ers are living proof that devo­tion and per­se­ver­ance are the fun­da­men­tal resources to get great results under any con­di­tion.
See more: The Best Italian Olive Oils for 2017
At Fattoria Ramerino, three miles from the Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence, they say that “the recog­ni­tion of the NYIOOC is very impor­tant for pro­duc­ers, but also useful to dis­close more and more the value of qual­ity to con­sumers.”



 



Filippo Alampi won a Gold Award with Guadagnòlo Primus, a blend of Frantoio and Moraiolo with a bit of Leccino and Pendolino, and a Silver Award with the monocul­ti­var Moraiolo.

“Last har­vest was com­pli­cated, and not sat­is­fy­ing regard­ing quan­tity, but the most care­ful farm­ers man­aged to defend olive groves with appro­pri­ate strate­gies,” Alampi told Olive Oil Times. “Diligent pro­duc­ers obtained good prod­ucts despite the drop in yield, and organic pro­duc­ers like us reached great results which rewarded all the efforts,” Alampi observed. “Going organic was a chal­lenge but also gave us great sat­is­fac­tion.”

The mono­va­ri­etal of Borgiona Tremila Olive, and the blend of Frantoio, Moraiolo, Dolce Agogia and Leccino, Vubia both earned Gold Awards.

Lorenzo Fasola Bologna at Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio

“These recog­ni­tions are not just goals but above all the begin­ning of a new chal­lenge,” said Lorenzo Fasola Bologna, who man­ages Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, the first com­pany in the agri­cul­tural sector to have elim­i­nated their green­house gas emis­sions in accor­dance with the inter­na­tional stan­dard ISO 14064. “I think this approach is not only good for the envi­ron­ment but also for the qual­ity of our extra virgin olive oils,” he pointed out.

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“I believe, in fact, that any kind of food includes a part of the envi­ron­ment in which it is pro­duced. This is also a way to show that work­ing in a healthy envi­ron­ment can bring great results.” Bologna will set up a new machin­ery in the mill that will be ready for the next har­vest, because “every type of olive requires a dif­fer­ent kind of crush­ing system,” he observed. “We want to be ver­sa­tile and have the abil­ity to offer dif­fer­ent extra virgin olive oils with the most expres­sive fea­tures.”

“I am so glad about these awards, which are an incen­tive to con­tinue our work with devo­tion,” Paolo Bonomelli told Olive Oil Times right after having received the news of his out­stand­ing vic­tory which con­sisted of three awards.

Bonomelli obtained a Best in Class with TreFórt, a blend of Casaliva, Trepp and Fort, and two Gold Awards for the mono­vari­a­tel Ca’Rainene Drizzar Garda DOP and the blend Ca’Rainene Garda DOP, which is a com­bi­na­tion of Casaliva, Leccino and Pendolino.

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Paolo Bonomelli at Ca’Rainene

The recog­ni­tion in New York was achieved with hard work and con­stant mon­i­tor­ing of olive groves, Bonomelli revealed, con­sid­er­ing that pro­duc­tion of excel­lence requires effort and ded­i­ca­tion, which gen­er­ate high costs.

“The only way to keep the qual­ity high is to ensure cor­rect remu­ner­a­tion to those who pro­duce it,” Bonomelli pointed out. “It is impor­tant that con­sumers rec­og­nize that the value of high-qual­ity prod­ucts must be trans­lated into an appro­pri­ate price. Large amounts are spent for many worth­less goods, while extra virgin olive oil is an invalu­able trea­sure, and paying the right price allows pro­duc­ers to improve qual­ity.”

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Pino, Carmela, Angela, Lucia and Michele Librandi at Tenute Librandi

“We are proud of this recog­ni­tion, as the NYIOOC is a very high pro­file event, thanks to which we made our national and inter­na­tional cus­tomers proud of us,” said Michele Librandi, who manage the family farm with his sis­ters Carmela, Angela and Lucia and his brother Pino.

“We were very care­ful to select this com­pe­ti­tion to enter with our extra virgin olive oil pro­duced in the sec­u­lar farm Tenute Librandi Pasquale, ded­i­cated to my father who inher­ited the olive groves from his great-grand­fa­ther,” remarked Librandi.

Librandi’s 150-hectares (370-acre) olive grove requires effort that he said were made with plea­sure and pas­sion and which led to the Gold Award. Their monocul­ti­var Nocellara del Belice has herba­ceous aroma with a hint of tomato leaf, which dif­fers from the typ­i­cal Nocellara thanks to the par­tic­u­lar pedo­cli­matic con­di­tions of their olive groves.

Simone and Paolo di Gaetano at Fonte di Foiano’s olive grove

“We are delighted with this great result,” said Paolo Di Gaetano after receiv­ing the Best in Class for the Gran Cru. Di Gaetano affirmed that after a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult season, the award rec­og­nized a great deal of effort that he made with his brother Simone Di Gaetano at the Tuscan farm Fonte di Foiano.

“Now, we have to expect every year to have a dif­fer­ent level of com­plex­ity and the har­vests to be no longer easy,” he observed. “Olive trees are suf­fer­ing from cli­mate change, so we have to pay con­stant atten­tion and pro­vide ade­quate care.”

Di Gaetano encour­aged other man­u­fac­tur­ers by saying, “this award is a demon­stra­tion that farm­ers who work hard every day can pro­duce a high-qual­ity extra virgin olive oil every year, despite all the dif­fi­cul­ties.” He spec­i­fied that to obtain this result it was nec­es­sary to go to the olive grove daily. Thanks to this approach, the farm pro­duced an excel­lent blend of Frantoio, Moraiolo, Maurino and Picholine, which were har­vested at dif­fer­ent times and then blended for an intense and har­mo­nious extra virgin olive oil which seduced the inter­na­tional panel of the NYIOOC.

Villa Pontina is a mono­va­ri­etal of Itrana pro­duced in accor­dance with the spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the Colline Pontine DOP. “Despite the dif­fi­cult har­vest and the young age of our com­pany we got this prize along­side many sea­soned pro­duc­ers,” said Francesco Le Donne who man­aged the farm with his uncle, Lucio Pontecorvi.

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Francesco Le Donne and Lucio Pontecorvi at Villa Pontina

After grad­u­at­ing in finance and trav­el­ing the world, Le Donne came back to Sonnino to take care of the olive trees planted by his grand­par­ents. “I returned with the desire to pro­duce extra virgin olive oil, pre­serv­ing their her­itage and study­ing every­thing about Liquid Gold from pro­duc­tion to tast­ing,” he revealed. With an organic approach that is ready to be con­verted to bio­dy­namic, they first tack­led a warm winter, then heavy rains on flow­ers and the onset of the olive fly and finally achieved a Gold Award for the second year in a row.

“The New York com­pe­ti­tion is a major show­case and the favor­able appraisal of such an inter­na­tional high-level panel is an impor­tant recog­ni­tion of our ded­i­ca­tion,” said the expe­ri­enced pro­ducer Nicolangelo Marsicani, adding that “the NYIOOC is a con­test that every pro­ducer should attend to prove them­selves among so many man­u­fac­tur­ers from all over the world.”

Nicolangelo Marsicani and his father Francesco in the mill

He won a Gold Award for the second year with a mono­va­ri­etal Frantoio DOP Cilento, which came out from olives har­vested in his olive groves in the first decade of October rig­or­ously crushed within 6 hours, under the super­vi­sion of a small group of experts and tasters. “The par­tic­u­lar season has made it dif­fi­cult to process olives as they were lit­er­ally full of water,” Marsicani explained. “We adjusted the extrac­tion tech­niques accord­ing to raw mate­r­ial deliv­ered to the miller and we obtained a very good prod­uct.”

At NYIOOC, sev­eral awards in a row went to Titone. “I am glad about this latest result,” said Antonella Titone who won a Silver Award with an organic extra virgin olive oil DOP Valli Trapanesi, a medium fruity blend with Nocellara del Belice and Cerasuola, with notes of tomato, grass and arti­choke.

Antonella Titone

Their olive groves are located in Trapani and, during the period of the last har­vest, it was so hot that even if the olives were healthy from an agro­nomic point of view, they set up a spe­cial thermo-con­di­tioned stor­age to stock the freshly-har­vested olives and bring their tem­per­a­ture down.

“Over the next few years we will work to improve this aspect,” Titone revealed. “Due to the organic man­age­ment, we are very care­ful about the evo­lu­tion of fruits during the year and we always mon­i­tor the olive grove espe­cially in the summer, which is a useful and nec­es­sary habit to obtain an oil like the one which won.”

“I’m very pleased with this award,” Giuseppe Rosso told Olive Oil Times, point­ing out that his monocul­ti­var Tonda Iblea “was recently redis­cov­ered and has been rec­og­nized thanks to its unique flavor of tomato.”

Giuseppe Rosso at Villa Zottopera

The farm Villa Zottopera is located in Chiaramonte Gulfi and has belonged to his family for more than four cen­turies. Most of the olive trees are 300- to 400-years old and some plants are up to 1,000 years of age. Now, they export 90 per­cent of pro­duc­tion.

Rosso explained that the Tonda Iblea has a “double apti­tude,” and in the last years, it has been recov­ered for the pro­duc­tion of hiqh-qual­ity extra virgin olive oil. “It suf­fers a bit from the alter­na­tion of pro­duc­tion but it can give excel­lent prod­ucts,” he said, con­sid­er­ing the result that he obtained through organic man­age­ment and a har­vest between the end of September and the first days of October — the ele­ments which led to a well-deserved Gold Award.