While Europe, especially Spain and Italy, gobble up most of the attention in the olive oil world a growing number of estates around the world have been climbing the ladder of recognition. It’s been the same sort of progression witnessed in the wine world over the last thirty years.
South America, Australia, South Africa and California have all developed burgeoning wine industries to great acclaim and it was only a matter of time before olive oil joined the parade. From a climate point of view, areas that grow great grapes can grow great olives as well. The conditions of Tuscany or Puglia in Italy also exist in places like Chile, Argentina and even New Zealand. As a result, innovative and daring entrepreneurs have spent the last twenty years cultivating olive trees (usually the same kind grown in Tuscany or Spain) around the world. Now we’re seeing the fruits of their labors.
Colinas de Garzon is located along the southeastern coast of Uruguay in Maldonado near the tourist Town of Punta del Este. The company began in 2000 with an eye on producing olive oil and wine. It’s taken a few years to develop the trees and work out their blending, but recently they’ve made their way onto the shelves of specialty shops here in the U.S.
A blend of Coratina (Italy) and Arbequina (Spain) olives, its flavor shows its European heritage with an added South American character. Colinas de Garzon is one of the more rounded oils I’ve tasted in a while and perfect for salads of fresh greens and vegetables, or to drizzle over fish.
The current harvest, picked and pressed in spring 2016 (that is, our spring—it would have been fall in the southern hemisphere), has a bright aroma with notes of artichoke and green bell pepper. It has a soft, light flavor that reminds me a bit of lettuce, with a mild yet bright red pepper spice in the finish.