A Spanish company that just six years ago moved from making bricks to making olive oil has won one of the world’s most prestigious olive oil prizes.
Aceites Oro Bailen, in Jaén, came first in the intense green fruitiness category of the Mario Solinas Quality Award extra virgin olive oil competition, the International Olive Council announced today (May 24).
Córdoba’s Almazara de Muela took the medium green fruitiness category and Navarra’s Hacienda Queiles was the ripe fruitiness winner.
The field spanned 111 oils – up from 97 last year. Spain had 44 entries, Portugal 40 and Greece 20. Italy submitted two entries and Cyprus, Egypt, Israel 1, Syria and Turkey one each, the IOC, which holds the awards, said. The official prize-giving ceremony will be held at its Madrid headquarters on June 22.
From bricks to bouquets
A delighted José Gálvez, director of Galgón 99, the company behind intense category winner Aceites Oro Bailen, found out about his latest prize when called by Olive Oil Times. “Prizes like this serve as an endorsement by a third party that your olive oil is as good as you say it is” he said.
“It’s one of the most important international awards.” It is also rigorous, requiring entries to be certified and collected by a notary, which is possibly why just two entries came from Italy, he said.
When Spain’s ceramics sector floundered, the Gálvez family decided to switch from manufacturing bricks to making olive oil, starting the latter only about six years ago. “We knew that being in (world olive oil production capital) Jaén, we had to differentiate, and we did that by aiming for maximum quality” Gálvez said.
Part of that involves an early harvest in his about 100ha grove in the foothills of the Sierra Morena. This season’s started on October 10 and produced 60 tons of the winning EVOO, Oro Bailen Reserva Familiar, with an acidity of less than 0.1 percent
Before his win, Gálvez had written to the IOC suggesting a change in the award timing so winning producers could use their prize to boost sales of that season’s oil for longer.
His EVOO has already won other awards and is sold throughout Spain – such as in the gourmet section of Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés, where 500ml sells for €8.45 ($10.60) – and about a third is exported, he said.
“Its aroma is so intense it is more like a fruit juice than an olive oil.”
Mario Solinas Quality Award Winners
Intense green fruitiness: Aceites Oro Bailen (Jaén, Spain)
Medium green fruitiness: Almazara de Muela (Córdoba, Spain)
Ripe fruitiness: Hacienda Queiles (Navarra, Spain)
Intense green fruitiness: Aceites Campoliva (Jaén, Spain)
Medium green fruitiness: Oro de Canava (Jaén, Spain)
Ripe fruitiness: Los Barbechos (Valencia, Spain)
Intense green fruitiness: Aceites San Antonio (Jaén, Spain)
Medium green fruitiness: Aroden (Córdoba, Spain)
Ripe fruitiness: SAOV Sociedade Agrícola Ouro Vegetal (Abrantes, Portugal)
Intense green fruitiness:
Potosí 10 (Jaén, Spain)
Agricola Roda (Sevilla, Spain)
Campos de Uleila (Almeria, Spain)
Medium green fruitiness:
Venchipa (Granada, Spain)
SCA Almazaras de la Subbética (Córdoba, Spain)
Jeronimo Pedro Mendonça de Abreu e Lima (Mirandela, Portugal)
Enolea (Entroncamento, Portugal)
Agricola i Caixa Agraria i Secció de Credit de Cambrils (Tarragona, Spain)
Cooperativa de Olivicultores de Valpaços (Valpaços, Portugal)