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Extra Virgin Olive Oil


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EUROPEAN LEGISLATION


1992 marked a turning point in agricultural policies throughout Europe, and in particular for oil producers in Umbria, with the passing of the EEC 2081/92 legislation "concerning the protection of original geographical areas and the qualification of agricultural and food products from certain specific areas”. In other words, this legislation marked the birth of the coveted DOP and IGP quality certificates of provenance.

Five years later, in1997, Umbria attained qualification as DOP (protected origin denomination) "Umbria" for its extra virgin olive oil. This means that all extra virgin olive oil produced in the region with a DOP label has to answer to a series of precise specifications. With Umbria divided into five sub-zones the Colli di Assisi-Spoleto, the Colli Martani, the Colli Amerini, the Colli del Trasimeno and the Colli Orvietani, a series of factors need to be taken into account for each zone, where conditions vary and consequently affect the overall result of the oil produced. Those not familiar with Umbrian olive oil should not forget that, although olives are pressed cold, the oil produced in all these five zones is substantially a mixture of oils combined from different kinds of species of olive. The DOP regulations for olive oil produced in Umbria clearly includes all those species of olive from which the final product is harvested.


THE VARIETIES

Moraiolo - is the most common variety of olive in the "Colli Assisi-Spoleto" zone (6o% minimum). Its medium-sized fruit verges on the round in shape and carries considerable pulp that yields high quality oil. Although the plant is small, it produces abundant fruit and is cherished by Umbrian olive-growers for its resistance to cold and its ability to grow at high altitudes.
Frantoio - is a medium-sized plant, of sturdy build, with the main trunk usually contorted and leaning, and the outer branches hanging downwards. This variety produces large, pulpy fruit that is oval in shape and particularly rich in fine quality oil. The plant’s low resistance to cold means that it is grown largely at a low altitude. It is particularly common in the "Colli Martani", "Colli Amerini" and "Colli del Trasimeno" zones.
Leccino - is a large plan with broadly expanding outer branches. Its fruit is fairly large and pulpy, of an oval-cylindrical shape. Although its yield is not as reliable as that of the Moraiolo, it possesses the same resistance to cold. This variety comprises around 50% of the olive plants cultivated in the "Colli Orvietani" zone.
San Felice - is a variety that grows in the Colli Martani and, along with the Frantoio and Moraiolo varieties, is said to produce an oil with anti-oxidant properties.
Pendolino - takes its name from the pendulous trait of its branches. Small in size, this variety is used mainly as a pollinising agent for the Moraiolo and Frantoio varieties. Its ungainly, sickle-shaped fruit are not known for the fine quality of their oil yield.
Agogia or Agocia - is a typical variety of the Lake Trasimene zone. Its fruits are usually blended with those of other varieties, to give a sweetening note to the final product. Its consistently good harvest and resistance to cold make it ideal for growing at higher altitudes.


HARVESTING METHODS
Today olives are generally harvested when they just enter their final ripening stage and turn black. This ensures that the oil’s fruity qualities are maintained, while the acidity levels are kept low. The harvesting season begins usually in early November and is always done by hand, according to the traditional method known as brucatura, which is still the best way of ensuring that the fruit arrives at the press intact. After picking, the olives are taken directly to be pressed and are not allowed to rest while the rest of the harvest continues.

Known for its olive oil, and in particular for the strong, incisive taste of its extra virgin olive oil, Umbria is ideal for growing olives in terms of climate, soil and altitude. This means that roughly 90% of the region’s average annual oil production of 8000 tonnes is extra virgin, figures that speak for themselves when one considers the popoularity of the Mediterranean diet throughout the world.



THE FIVE SUB-ZONES

DOP 'Umbria Colli Assisi-Spoleto' sub-zone:
extra virgin olive oil made from Moraiolo minimum 60%,
Leccino and Frantoio maximum 30%, other varieties for up to10%.

DOP 'Umbria Colli Martani' sub-zone: extra virgin olive oil made from Moraiolo minimum 20%, S. Felice, Leccino and Frantoio maximum 80%, other varieties for up to10%.

DOP 'Umbria Colli Amerini' sub-zone: extra virgin olive oil made from Moraiolo minimum 15%, Rajo, Leccino and Frantoio maximum 85%, other varieties for up to10%.

DOP 'Umbria Colli del Trasimeno' sub-zone:
extra virgin olive oil made from Moraiolo and Dolce Agocia
measured for a minimum of 15%, Frantoio and Leccino minimum 65%, other varieties for up to 20%.

DOP 'Umbria Colli Orvietani' sub-zone:
extra virgin olive oil made from Moraiolo minimum 15%,
Frantoio maximum 30%, Leccino maximum 60%, other varieties for up to 20%.



Where to buy:

Azienda Agraria Sasso Rosso Loc. Capodacqua di Assisi - 06081 Assisi [Pg] Tel & Fax +39 0758707128 email:aziendaagraria@sassorosso.it
• Extra virgin olive oil sale. Buy online or come and visit us at our Azienda Agraria.
Web site languages: Italiano English 

 

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