Okay, the first thing I have to tell you is that the bottle incorporates this really clever pourer – what a blessing as we spilt ridiculous amounts of the Olivia Oils Ascolano with a bottle doesn’t even have that little plastic bit that slows down the pouring.
So let’s dive straight in – with our noses that is. And wow, what a lovely fruity smell, fresh apples and maybe pear. The colour is quite a dark yellowy green.
The first taste is slightly bitter and grassy and the aftertaste spicy, peppery with quite a long flavour, mellowing to green almonds.
Whilst normally I taste with a crusty white bread, today I didn’t have any to hand and as we normally eat ‘integral’ or wholemeal bread that’s what I used. Oriole is smooth, bitter and peppery when swallowed and went really well with the slightly salty bread. I then tried a traditional Spanish breakfast dish (without toasting the bread though) of bread, olive oil and chopped tomatoes and the flavour was fabulous – gentle and unobtrusive at first and then ‘wham’ the pepper hit at the end.
This EVOO, from Sierra de Grazalema is a monovarietal zorzaleña which is another name for the Lechin de Sevilla. Monovarietal simply means that the oil is made with only one type of olive – it is not a blend. It was harvested in early October 2016 and, being unfiltered I would expect a 6-9 months of bottled shelf life. I’m a little surprised that the ‘consume before’ date is November 2018 because even if this was only bottled in February or March of this year, unfiltered oils can deteriorate faster than filtered due to the presence of some organic material still in the oil. Many tasters and chefs prefer unfiltered oil because it is even less processed than filtered oil and can have higher phenolics but we’re getting technical now! Whilst there can be a bonus in terms of flavour, the potential downside to unfiltered oil is a shorter shelf life. However, I trust this team and if November 2018 is their recommendation I’d believe them. However, now that it’s open there is absolutely no chance of this bottle lasting more than a few weeks!
This is the first unfiltered EVOO I’ve knowingly tasted and it’s lovely (I say knowingly because having sampled around 50 anonymous oils on the sommelier course last month, I’m pretty sure at least some of them will have been unfiltered). The texture is more viscous than other oils I’ve used and you might be able to see in this picture how it left a very definite trail when swirled in the tasting bowl:
Uses: This is a great tapas oil, dipping bread, pan con aceite y tomate (bread with oil and tomato), pistou, aubergine and tomato dishes, maybe poured on a tomato/cheese/basil salad. Actually we had a delicious garlic, tomato and cheese salad (called Escándalo Salad) in Venta Correro near Benalup on Sunday and this would be the perfect oil for that:
I wouldn’t necessarily fry with it but I had a little leftover in the tasting bowl at lunchtime and swirled it into a home made Corn Chowder just before serving and the aroma and flavour were delicious.
Although you aren’t going to find this oil on the shelf of your favourite deli any time soon, it is readily available to sponsors and supporters and I’d strongly recommend you adopt a tree just to get hold of this lovely liquid gold. As a slight aside, my hubby has been dragged along on this EVOO journey rather reluctantly and is not known for having a sophisticated palate but when he tasted this oil with bread and then bread and tomato he said it was his favourite oil so far. When you consider that a year ago he didn’t like oil that “tasted of olives: (yeah, I know, tricky with good extra virgin olive oil!) that’s an amazing journey of discovery he’s undertaken.
So, until next time, enjoy that EVOO and please feel free to leave me a comment, it can get a little lonely this side of the blogging process. Oh, and share with your friends too – more readers would be fabulous!