Arroniz Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Ark of taste
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Made with Arroniz olives, a variety local to Rioja Alavesa, this oil has a strong flavor of green garden olives. This variety is the result of natural selection and adaptation over the centuries of varieties planted by the Romans to northern central Spain. A bitter component can be detected by the nose, with notes of green olive itself, olive leaves or tomato and artichoke. The taste is light and similar to what perceived with the nose, with a light but noticeable bitterness. The high content of polyphenols in this variety, which can cause bitter and spicy notes to the taste, is balanced thanks to a careful harvest, only done when the fruit is at the right stage of ripeness, and a correct oil press. Unfiltered olive oil (aceite en rama) best represents the aspects of oil; this is what makes this olive oil so similar in flavor to the actual fruit. However, it also gives the oil a shorter shelf life and requires greater attention in storage and serving.    

Unfiltered oil is produced in the Rioja Alavesa region, in the southern part of Álava. At the beginning of the 1990s, the local Arroniz variety had decreased to a quantity only available for self-consumption, with much land becoming dedicated to grapevines instead of olive trees. There used to be local celebrations at the end of the harvest and to share this greenish gold oil amongst those who shared the olive press or mill. The harvest fair has been brought back since 2012 within the Rioja Alavesa region. Although there are over 80 producers making olive oil in the area, in 2012 only two producers made a total of 300 liters of the Arroniz unfiltered extra virgin olive oil. Given the small production and its short shelf life it is only possible to find this oil in the market two months a year. Furthermore, many oil producers are making oil with more productive, imported trees instead of the Arroniz variety. 

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