Portugal and Spain have again dominated the Mario Solinas Quality Awards. The winners of this year’s edition of the prestigious olive oil competition were announced yesterday by the International Olive Council.

First prize in the intense green fruitiness category went to the Spanish producer El Labrador, while the medium green fruitiness and ripe fruitiness awards went to Portuguese producers: SAOV (Sociedade Agrícola Ouro Vegetal) and Sociedade Agricola do Conde.


Second and third prize in the intense category went to Spain’s Aceites Campoliva and Greece’s Eirini Plomarioy respectively.

In the medium category they went to Portugal’s Azeites & Oleos Vegetales and Spain’s Almazaras de la Subbética.

And in the ripe category the runner-up was Portugal’s Gallo Worldwide and Spain’s Sovena España took third place.

The official prize-giving ceremony will be held at the IOC headquarters in Madrid on June 17. The winners receive a medal and diploma and may announce the prize on the labels of EVOO of the same batch as the winning sample.

A total of 97 oils – up from 75 last year – were entered. Of these, 42 were from Spain, 39 from Portugal, 9 from Greece, 3 from Turkey and one each from France, Israel, Italy and Morocco.

They were classified into one of three sections on the basis of the median intensity of their fruitiness. The IOC said that the oils were then, “assessed by a number of IOC-recognised panels according to a special score sheet which marks them for their olfactory, gustatory and retronasal sensations, and their harmony, complexity and persistence.”

The six oils with the highest scores in each section were declared finalists and went on to be judged by an international jury.

Of the nine other finalists, all were from Spain and Portugal except France’s Château Virant, in the medium category.

The other finalists in the medium category were Portugal’s Soc. Agricola Quinta da Lagoalva de Cima and Spain’s Olivarera de Casariche.

The intense finalists were Potosí 10 (Spain), Jeronimo Pedro Mendonça de Abreu e Lima (Portugal) and S.C.A. Olivarera de Pontanense de Oleoestepa (Spain). And in the ripe category Aucama (Portugal), Campos de Uleila (Spain) and Camp i Secció de Crèdit de Bellaguarda (Spain).

Málaga’s El Labrador, the intense category winner, also won in this category in 2008. On winning the award this week, Andrés López López, president of the family company that produces El Labrador, told Olive Oil Times that despite having won a range of major awards, it was difficult to get a good price for the EVOO. “We are selling it at the same price as four years ago.”

His daughter, Rosario, said the family was truly passionate about making high quality olive oil. “But we can’t find buyers for it.” She said that 500ml of the award-winning extra virgin sells for about 10€ ($14) in the gourmet section of Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés.

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