`Two More Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oils Close to Clinching PDO Status - Olive Oil Times

Two More Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oils Close to Clinching PDO Status

Nov. 27, 2012
Julie Butler

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The native Arróniz olive vari­ety is one hall­mark of extra vir­gin olive oils from Navarra and another is their high level of oleic acid — over 72 per­cent of total fatty acids, accord­ing to a Protected Designation of Origin appli­ca­tion recently pub­lished in the offi­cial Journal of the European Union.

Along with Aceite de Lucena, also from Spain, Aceite de Navarra is now in what could be in the final stretch of the long road to EU reg­is­tra­tion as a PDO prod­uct. If there are no objec­tions in the next six months, the new PDOs should be granted.

Aceite de Navarra

Chelo Dolado, sec­re­tary of the Aceite de Navarra PDO, told Olive Oil Times this would mark the end of a process that started offi­cially in May 2008, though the area had enjoyed tem­po­rary national pro­tec­tion in Spain since then.

According to its PDO appli­ca­tion pub­lished on October 24, the pres­ence of the Arróniz vari­ety — alone or in a blend with the Empeltre and Arbequina vari­eties — helps give Aceite de Navarra oils their char­ac­ter­is­tic yet well bal­anced bit­ter­ness and pun­gency.

The pro­duc­tion area in north-east­ern Spain is mostly in the Ebro river val­ley and ringed west to east by moun­tains which block humid winds off the Cantabrian coast. This instead allows the influ­ence of the cold and dry Cierzo wind from the north-east.


The com­bined effect of these cli­matic con­di­tions, cal­care­ous soils, and early har­vest­ing to avoid early frosts give the oils extra­or­di­nary organolep­tic prop­er­ties, which are char­ac­ter­ized by an aver­age fruiti­ness of over 4,5, with green notes” the appli­ca­tion says.

They have a max­i­mum acid­ity of 0.3 per­cent and max­i­mum per­ox­ide value of 15meq O2/kg.

Families pro­vide the labor, con­sume the oil

Olive grow­ing in the area has always fea­tured fam­ily labor, and much of the oil is still con­sumed by the pro­duc­ers them­selves. In 2010, the 5,344 hectares of olive cul­ti­va­tion was spread among 19,500 land parcels and more than 8,000 olive grow­ers.

Since ancient times, the three vari­eties of Arróniz, Empeltre and Arbequina have coex­isted in per­cent­ages that vary from one area to another. In a plot of one of the three vari­eties, it is very com­mon to find trees of another vari­ety (‘male’ olive trees) inter­spersed, espe­cially in old fields, in the belief that this favors pol­li­na­tion” the appli­ca­tion says.

Aceite de Lucena

Located in the south of the province of Córdoba, the Aceite de Lucena pro­duc­tion area is marked by cal­cium rich soils, cold-tem­per­ate win­ters and hot, dry sum­mers. These fac­tors help pro­duce extra vir­gins that are rich in polyphe­nols, accord­ing to the PDO appli­ca­tion, pub­lished on November 16.

Oils from this area are said to have a min­i­mum of 100ppm but aver­age of 350ppm of caf­feic acid, acid­ity of no more than 0.8 but typ­i­cally between 0.1 and 0.3 per­cent by vol­ume, and per­ox­ide value of no more than 15meq O2/kg.

Hojiblanca deter­mines the taste

They owe their mild taste and aroma, along with a char­ac­ter­is­tic almond-like fruiti­ness, to the Hojiblanca olive, the sta­ple in the area. More than 90 per­cent of the fruit used to make the oils comes from this vari­ety but oth­ers used include Arbequina, Picual, Lechín, Tempranilla, Ocal, Campanile and Chorruo.

The color of the oils is pre­dom­i­nantly green and the dom­i­nant aroma is freshly cut grass.

The early har­vest­ing leads to the for­ma­tion of trans-2-hex­e­nal alde­hyde which causes an aroma of green grass to develop pro­vided the process is han­dled with care, the tem­per­a­ture is not raised, and not much water is used.”

This also imparts a pre­dom­i­nantly green color to the oil, which turns more golden, almost yel­low­ish green as olives are har­vested later in the sea­son” the appli­ca­tion says.

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