More international honours for local olive oil
Willow Creek Olive Estate has taken top honours in one of the world’s most distinguished olive oil competitions, the L’Orciolo d’Oro in Gradara, Italy. Its flagship Directors’ Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil has earned the the highest accolade in the competition by winning the category: Intensely Fruity.
Contenders in this year’s olive oil stakes included classic olive oil producers like Italy, Spain and Greece, as well as new world producers Australia and Argentina. Entries were rated by panels of accredited olive oil tasters and convened by olive oil maestros, Profs Giuseppe Fontanazza and Marta Cartoceti. The competition, now in its eleventh year, derives its name from the Italian term for a large terracotta urn that in the past was used to store oil – the urn has become the competition’s symbolic trophy and will now grace the boardroom of Willow Creek Olive Estate.
Following this Italian triumph, comes the news that Willow Creek has excelled at another international judging panel – clinching a pair of gold medals at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil competition in the US. Now in its tenth year, this prestigious event attracted 477 entries from 318 producers. Willow Creek took gold medals for both its Directors’ Reserve in the intense or robust category (gold winners must score 86 to 100 points out of 100), as well as their Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the medium category. Willow Creek Basil-Infused and Parmesan-Infused oils both won bronze in the category for flavoured olive oils.
Willow Creek MD, Andries Rabie, says the cool summer aided in the development of a very high level of polyphenols in the olives. Furthermore the estate’s terroir plays a defining role in the quality of their oils. The dry climate in a winter rainfall region, together with access to irrigation, allows for optimum moisture at precisely the right time. Other factors playing a decisive role in their production of world quality olive oils are the estate’s lime rich soils and big variation in winter- and summer-, as well as day- and night temperatures.
Over the past three years, Willow Creek Directors’ Reserve has garnered a string of accolades including honourable mention at the 2008 and 2007 L’Orciolo d’Oro (Italy) preceded by a distinction at the same competition in 2006; honourable mention at the 2007 Leone d’Oro (Italy); gold at the 2007 Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition (USA); honourable mention at the 2006 Armonia International Olive Oil Competition (Italy); gold at the 2005 Los Angeles County Fair (USA).
The Directors’ Reserve – created from three Tuscan olive varieties, namely Coratina, Frantoio and FS17 (Favoloza) in the most perfect stages of ripeness – has a robust, intensely fruity character with complex aromas of artichokes, rocket leaves and freshly mown grass with a hint of tomato vines.
Willow Creek’s extra virgin olive oils, olives, tapenades and olive pesto’s are available from major retailers and delicatessens countrywide.
For more information, see www.willowcreek.co.za
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