My First Olive Oil Tasting in Argentina
Finally, now that we’ve dropped our bags for 10 days in Buenos Aires, I could shop and got some nice Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) to taste!
For the first one, I decided to check out a supermarket to see what I could find there. The one I found was called “Pont l’ėvêque”, I know it sounds really French and weird actually to be called “Pont l’ėvêque” for an EVOO, since Pont l’ėvêque is a cheese PDO. You don’t expect an EVOO to taste like cheese! But in the supermarket we went to, only a few brands were giving information about varietals, production area and so on...
“Pont l’ėvêque” was giving all the info, the bottle was dark and the Best Before Date was perfect (18 months from production date. Always choose an EVOO that has a BBD as close to 18 months as possible. For more info, check out this article). It was a 100% Arbequina from the region of Mendoza.
For the second one, we went to a wine shop that had a really good selection of Olive Oils. All the bottles were prefect, they had all the information I wanted, best before dates were within 18 months, the varietal was indicated, the region of production as well. I chose an EVOO from the Mendoza region again, but a varietal that I had never tried before, called Arauco.
The brand was Famiglia Dell’Isola.
A few notes about both varietals
Arbequina is a really small olive originating in Spain. Usually grown over there, it found a second home in Argentina along with a large selection of European varietals.
Arauco is a varietal from Arauco in La Rioja region, Argentina. It is the only one that is autochthonous from there. Its pulp to pit ratio made it an excellent varietal for table olives. However, its low oil content resulted in low yields for the production of oil. Even though it produces small amounts of oil, its quality is very high with great polyphenol content.
Pont l’ėvêque EVOO (100 % Arbequina)
On the nose: pretty green with notes of artichoke, lettuce, cut herbs & aromatics plants.
On the palate: still pretty green & grassy, artichokes, tomato leaf, green banana with a balanced bitterness & pungency.
If you see it in a supermarket, I would recommend it , it was a good value oil and the aromas were there...
Famiglia Dell’Isola (100% Arauco)
On the nose: pretty green with notes of artichoke but a hint of ripe tomatoes.
On the palate: ripe fruits, nuts & banana bread (really surprised)
It's been a week now that we left Buenos Aires and I have roughly tried around 10 different EVOO made with 100% Arauco, I can say that this one isn’t the typical style. The most common descriptors for Arauco oils on the nose would be medium-ripe tomato, white apple & banana, with hints of basil, mint or parsley. On the palate, Arauco oils are usually very green, with lettuce, chicory, rocket salad, celery and quite often a medium to high bitterness/pungency.
Even though this Arauco wasn't a textbook version of the varietal, I would still recommend it. It would be nice with fruit salad and chocolate for example.