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 Also: 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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