Italian Winners Pour in From North to South at World Olive Oil Competition

From the renowned regions of Umbria and Tuscany to lesser-known terroirs, Italian producers from the entire country were awarded at the world's most prestigious olive oil quality contest.

Fattoria Bini estate, producer of Entimio olive oil
May. 20, 2020
By Paolo DeAndreis
Fattoria Bini estate, producer of Entimio olive oil

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Part of our con­tin­u­ing cov­er­age of the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion.

The best Ital­ian olive oils do not always come from the large farms of the south nor from the beau­ti­ful hills of cen­tral Italy.

Some­times they come from the north – even as far north as the foot of the Alps. That is the case with 46° Par­al­lelo, which received a Gold Award at the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion.

Last sea­son was a hard one for north­ern Italy… We are flat­tered by such an award after such a chal­leng­ing sea­son.- Furio Bat­terini, Agraria Riva del Garda

The olive oil is named after the geo­graphic par­al­lel where the olives are grown. It is a prod­uct of many small pro­duc­ers who gather in a coop­er­a­tive busi­ness, Agraria Riva del Garda.

46° Par­al­lelo was rec­og­nized for its organic ori­gin and its tast­ing sen­sa­tions of herbs, green almond, mint, fen­nel and green fruit. Still, its world-class qual­ity did not come easy at the end of a tur­bu­lent year for Ital­ian agri­cul­ture.

See more: Spe­cial Cov­er­age: 2020 NYIOOC

Last sea­son was a hard one for north­ern Italy, with a record fruit drop in July that stole almost 80 per­cent of the total yield,” Furio Bat­terini, who leads Agrari­a’s tech­ni­cal unit, told Olive Oil Times.

Then came the olive fruit fly,” he added. We do not usu­ally get the fly as much as else­where, since our par­tic­u­lar lake­side cli­mate mixes with the colder north­ern air, but when just a few olives remain on the trees, that is when the fly can hurt more.”

Almost 1,000 asso­ci­ated farm­ers grow and har­vest their olives in an area cov­er­ing 620 acres, where they fight the olive fly with bio­log­i­cal traps.

We are flat­tered by such an award after such a chal­leng­ing sea­son,” Bat­terini said.

Another Ital­ian pro­ducer com­ing from an unusual loca­tion for world-class olive oils is Palazzo di Varig­nana. Close to Bologna, in the Emilia-Romagna region, the company’s organic extra vir­gin olive oils won two Gold Awards at the 2020 NYIOOC.

Vargnano and Cla­terna are two extra vir­gin olive oils that come from the typ­i­cal and tra­di­tional local olive vari­eties, Nos­trana and Ghi­ac­ci­ola,” Chiara Del Vec­chio, the com­pa­ny’s olive oil project man­ager, told Olive Oil Times.

Since 2015, we began work­ing to restore and recover the olive groves that once filled these lands, at least until the sec­ond half of the eigh­teenth cen­tury, when adverse cli­mate con­di­tions put a halt to that pro­duc­tion,” she added. We founded our com­pany focus­ing on inno­v­a­tive pro­ce­dures and busi­ness, and now man­age groves on more than 320,000 acres.”

The com­pany ambi­tions include extend­ing the area ded­i­cated to the olive trees and a pri­vate oil mill that, pend­ing autho­riza­tion, should be com­pleted by 2021.

Olive groves in north­ern Italy. Photo cour­tesy of Euge­nio Luti

Far­ther south, in the heart of the Ital­ian penin­sula, the Umbrian pro­ducer Far­chioni Olii won three Gold Awards

We are very sat­is­fied with these results,” owner Marco Far­chioni told Olive Oil Times. Also because we con­tribute to the con­fir­ma­tion of the world-class qual­i­ties of Ital­ian olive oil.”

Far­chioni Olii is a farm whose tra­di­tion dates back to 1780, when Mar­co’s ances­tors began replac­ing the fruits of their ter­ri­tory with olive oil, wine, beer and flour.

The three olive oils that con­quered the palate of this year’s panel of judges included Selezione oli del Mediter­ra­neo, an extra vir­gin olive oil born from the expe­ri­ence of the grow­ers in select­ing the best olive vari­eties of the sea­son; Collezione di Famiglia, a mono­va­ri­etal Coratina; and DOP Umbria Colli Mar­tani, made of olives com­ing from the dry and stony grounds of Umbria,” Far­chioni said. It is an extra vir­gin olive oil crafted from four cul­ti­vars: Fran­toio, Lec­cino, Moraiolo and San Felice.

In nearby Tus­cany, Entimio Tus­can won a Sil­ver Award for its Entimio Dis­tinto, a blend made mostly out of Fran­toio olives, with some Lec­cino and Moraiolo too. The oil is pro­duced by Fat­to­ria Bini, a farm in the Chi­anti area of Tus­cany, whose activ­i­ties date back cen­turies.

We part­nered with a tra­di­tional, his­tor­i­cal olive oil pro­ducer that spe­cial­ized in select­ing the best olives needed to pro­duce world-class olive oils” Daniele San­tini, owner of the Entimio, told Olive Oil Times. Even with a very chal­leng­ing sea­son for olives, Entimio Dis­tinto was rec­og­nized for its high polyphe­nol con­tent and very spe­cial taste.”

To the 2020 NYIOOC judg­ment panel, the Tus­can extra vir­gin olive oil offers tast­ing sen­sa­tions of arti­choke, almond, wal­nut, pep­per and green pep­per.

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