`Early Harvest Release Brings Fresh Oils to New York


Early Harvest Release Brings Fresh Oils to New York

Dec. 20, 2013
Michael Goodwin

Recent News

Remy Reboul presents Château d’Estoublon early har­vest olive oils at an event in New York hosted by De Medici Imports

New York’s first early har­vest release,” hosted by De Medici Imports at the head­quar­ters for the National Asso­ci­a­tion for the Spe­cialty Food Trade, wel­comed olive oil pro­duc­ers, experts, chefs, and writ­ers to taste new oils from the Mediterranean’s first har­vest this sea­son.

Food jour­nal­ist and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity David Rosen­garten opened the event’s panel dis­cus­sion by defin­ing the dense state­ment of early har­vest release” and the tra­di­tion of using under­ripe olives, pro­duc­ing a green, won­der­fully fruity, pep­pery oil.”

The event fea­tured extra vir­gin olive oils from four pro­duc­ers. Dur­ing the open­ing sem­i­nar, each pro­ducer had the oppor­tu­nity to speak about ter­roir, pro­duc­tion meth­ods and the qual­i­ties that make his or her oil unique. Rosen­garten observed that the pro­duc­ers, pri­mar­ily estate oper­a­tions, were boldly com­mer­cial­iz­ing early releases” to give con­sumers a taste of the fresh­est oils avail­able. All four pro­duc­ers had oil sam­ples flown in for the event.

The fifty or so atten­dees first heard from Ger­ard Veá, of VEÁ Olive Oil, in Lérida, Spain. In con­ver­sa­tion with Emilio Mignucci, an owner of Philadel­phia area spe­cialty food mer­chants, Di Bruno Bros., Veá explained the care­ful tem­per­a­ture con­trol involved in pre­serv­ing the fla­vor of early release oils. He also spoke to the role of weather in sub­tleties of fla­vor and oil qual­ity with each new har­vest. VEÁ’s early har­vest extra vir­gin olive oil is 100 per­cent Arbe­quina, a cel­e­brated Cata­lan vari­ety.

Olive oil expert and edu­ca­tor Nicholas Cole­man then spoke with Emanuela Stuc­chi Prinetti, from Badia a Coltibuono, a Tus­can pro­ducer of great his­tory and tra­di­tion. Dis­cussing the evolv­ing role of tech­nol­ogy in olive cul­ti­va­tion, Prinetti described the chal­lenges and rewards of pro­duc­ing olive oil and wine on the same estate. Illus­trat­ing the role of alti­tude on cul­ti­va­tion, Pinetti shared the vision of her father, whose inno­va­tion would even­tu­ally lead to the com­pletely organic pro­duc­tion at Badia a Coltibuono. The health and integrity of the olives is of the utmost impor­tance,” she remarked. Only 8,000 bot­tles of Albereto Organic Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil, the estate’s early release, are avail­able each year.


Vic Rallo, host of the tele­vi­sion series Eat! Drink! Italy!” with Emanuela Stuc­chi Prinetti from the Badia a Coltibuono estate

The sem­i­nar also saw Remy Reboul, pro­ducer of the Provençal Château d’Estoublon, in con­ver­sa­tion with Cur­tis Cord, pub­lisher of Olive Oil Times and founder of the New York Inter­na­tional Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion. Cord recalled tast­ing Chateau d’Estoublon’s Grossane mono­va­ri­etal in a small shop in St. Tropez 20 years ago that was his first expe­ri­ence with a great olive oil.” Though the estate’s pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy has evolved since then, the care­ful cul­ti­va­tion has not. The estate has only 6,700 trees, and their olives are har­vested by hand for opti­mal ripeness. Though he pro­duces five mono­va­ri­etal oils, Reboul’s early har­vest, AOP Val­lée des Baux de Provence is a blend that includes all five French olives.

Xan­dra Falco, in con­ver­sa­tion with Jef­frey Shaw of the Trade Com­mis­sion of Spain in New York, spoke about Mar­ques de Griñon in Toledo — another pro­ducer with hun­dreds of years of his­tory. Whereas the estate’s olives were once crushed” at the mill, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy more del­i­cately slices” the olives, Falco explained. Falco’s pro­duc­tion line is able to cre­ate and bot­tle olive oil in just 30 min­utes, opti­miz­ing fresh­ness, fla­vor and health­ful­ness. Her early har­vest oil, Oleum Artis Extra Vir­gin, com­bines Arbe­quina and Picual vari­etals.

The tast­ing, which fol­lowed the speak­ers, allowed pro­duc­ers to share the robust fla­vors of their early har­vests with sem­i­nar atten­dees. A cel­e­bra­tion of small, high-qual­ity olive oil mak­ers, the event aimed to give much-needed pos­i­tive press to olive oil imports. Steve Kauf­man, Exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of De Medici, and one of the orga­niz­ers of the event, stated that the event was an oppor­tu­nity to demon­strate that bet­ter olive oils come from early har­vest­ing and show off great oils.”

All four pro­duc­ers explained that embrac­ing tech­nol­ogy was crit­i­cal to the preser­va­tion of their his­toric estates. As Reboul stated, we have to stick to strict rules to pro­duce the high­est qual­ity olive oil.” This dis­play of Euro­pean com­mit­ment to small pro­duc­tion and qual­ity was wel­comed by Amer­i­can palates. As Rosen­garten noted, with an increase in Amer­i­can con­sumer knowl­edge of olive oil, any oppor­tu­nity to grow Amer­i­can trust in extra vir­gin olive oil” is a great one.

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