Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils


Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils
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We are occasionally asked which is the best olive oil in the world and we always give the same answer. Does the best book, the best movie, the best song, the best building, the best sculpture or the best painting exist? The important thing is that the EVOO world is a rich culture. The important thing is to read, listen to music, watch movies, contemplate paintings, sculptures or architecture and in doing that discover what we like and enjoy. No matter how much we like a musician; we don’t always listen to his songs. No matter how much we like a writer or a novel; we don't read it tirelessly over and over again. No matter how much we like a movie; we also never watch the same movie. Similarly, even if we like a particular wine, when we go to restaurants, we ask for wines that we have never tried in order to taste and compare them with the one we have already tried. And so, we end up understanding books, music, cinema, painting or wine and differentiating something good and interesting from something false and disappointing. In the things we like we discover authenticity, differentiation, effort, attention to detail, originality and other values that make them unique.

The same happens with a good extra virgin olive oil, an EVOO. What is paramount is to discover and enter its world, its aromas and flavors, its healthy qualities, its production processes, its varieties and regions, their producers, and ultimately everything that makes it unique.

EVOO producers generally feel that other producers with the same passion for excellence are collaborators and not competitors, because the main thing is to cooperate on spreading this knowledge and culture. Our competitors are seed oils, refined olive oils and private labels, where differentiation and excellence come second to treating olive oil as an undifferentiated product, a 'commodity'.

Therefore, how can the consumer decide on a large variety of EVOOs?

Firstly, a place where there really is a range of different EVOOs should be chosen, with EVOOs from different origins, varieties and formats of packing, and avoiding lines where, we have a short range of products and in plastic formats where the migration from the container to the oil can be very high and harmful.

Secondly, a research for certain references of quality and differentiation should be carried out. We are going to focus on three of them: QvExtra´s SIQEV Seal, Denomination of Origin Seal, Organic Agriculture Seal.

QVExtra! International and SIQEV seal: this is an association of producers, all with olive groves, oil mills and their own brand of EVOO, private and non-profit, created to promote the knowledge of EVOO among producers and consumers through training and dissemination activities, and with the SIQEV seal of approval as a means to recognize those EVOOs with quality and control standards far above those established by official regulations.

Only oils that comply with these standards are authorized by QvExtra! to use the SIQEV seal on their containers, which will be controlled at the final point of sale, through sampling by an external consulting company, and analyzed in Official Laboratories to verify that they meet these quality parameters, both physical-chemical and sensorial, throughout their best-before date. The aim is to provide the public with a way, the SIQEV seal, to recognize excellence.

CORTIJO DE SUERTE ALTA belongs to QvExtra since its foundation in 2013 and its two brands, Cortijo de Suerte Alta and Marques de Prado, in all their forms, are annually qualified with the SIQEV seal.

Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO): This is a guarantee of the authenticity, origin and quality of its EVOOs, according to the varieties, climates and soils of production, which result in oils with distinctive and recognisable organoleptic characteristics. Its rules and regulations for functioning, membership and control are protected by the European Union with its seal.

The Baena Denomination of Origin, to which Cortijo de Suerte Alta belongs, is located in the geographic centre of Andalusia and is characterized by limestone and wavy soils, low average rainfall and a large variety of olive trees, which produce oils with complex and intense aromas and moderate bitterness and spiciness due to their high concentration of polyphenols. The predominant varieties are Picudo, Hojiblanca, Picual and Pajarero, with a total area of 60,000 hectares.

The certified and bottled oils under the D.O.P Baena seal, remain sealed in the cellar under its control and supervision and after having been tasted and approved by the Official Panel of Tasters of the D.O.P Baena. Tastings are undertaken in blind and anonymously in sessions composed of a minimum of eight tasters. Samples are taken directly from the cellar tanks of the mills by the DO staff and having also passed a physical-chemical analysis by an external accredited laboratory. All this controlled by the certifying organism of the Baena Denomination of Origin.

Cortijo Suerte Alta´s olive grove belongs to the Baena DO, as so do its two EVOOs: CORTIJO DE SUERTE ALTA COUPAGE NATURAL and CORTIJO DE SUERTE ALTA PICUAL. During its 13 years of existence, Cortijo Suerte Alta has won 11 gold and 2 silver medals. In this article (LINK TO ARTICLE THE DO), we explain with more detail the DO Baena.

Ecological Agriculture: It ensures the sustainability of the olive groves and of an EVOO free of chemical wastes from herbicides and insecticides. The processing, treatments and fertilizers are carried out using only organic products that are guaranteed by the Organic seal.

There are different control and certification organisms that periodically inspect the olive grove, the olives and the oils obtained, taking field and mill samples along with multi-residue analysis, and also controlling the documentation and traceability of the whole process.

Cortijo de Suerte Alta is certified by the CAAE, the Andalusian Committee for Organic Agriculture, and we are also certified for the European Community, the United States and Japan.

Quality Contests: Finally, we will talk about Quality Contests, both National and International. Spain is not only the largest producer in quantity of olive oil in the world but also the largest producer of high-quality extra virgin olive oil, as evidenced by the awards obtained by Spanish brands, which are always among the most awarded oils in competitions.

A quality contest should have three fundamental requirements in order to be truly considered as a contest which provides a guarantee of unquestionable credibility and impartiality.

Cortijo de Suerte Alta participates in national and international annually competitions and you can see a list on the website and on our social networks.