Every year a panel of expert testers get together to sample extra virgin olive oils from around the province of Jaén in the north of Andalucia which borders with Castilla – La Mancha. Jaén produces some exquisite oils from the over 66 million olive trees which cover the area in a ´sea of green.´
In 2003 the local council launched the Jaén Selección aimed to pick out the best extra virgin olive oils of the season. This choosing of eight premium quality oils has become a sort after goal for many producers and the competition is tough. This year 64 oils were entered from 36 different towns within the province.
The winning oils – emblems of Jaén are excellent quality, each, just like wine, distinctive with its own personality. 2021 sees the eight oils chosen by blind tastings by the country´s best professional tasters. This year all eight are from Picual olives, seven of them from conventional production and one is produced ecologically.
These EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oils) AOVE (Aceites de Oliva Virgen Extra) in Spanish are the embassadors of Jaén´s vast array of olive oils, they are:
Picualia Premium, de la SCA Virgen de Zocueca from Bailén
Oro Bailén Reserva Familiar Picual, de Aceites Oro Bailén Galgón 99 SL from Villanueva de la Reina
Hacienda La Laguna, de Cortijo La Labor SL from Puente del Obispo, Baeza
Noviembre, de Finca Las Manillas SL from Arquillos
Bañón, de Explotación Bañón SA from Veracruz, Úbeda
Olibaeza, de la SCA El Alcázar from Baeza
Oro de Cánava, de la SCA Nuestra Señora de los Remedios from Jimena
Mergaoliva, de Oleohiguera SL from Lahiguera – the ecological oil
After two days of tastings councillor Francisco Reyes said ´Choosing the best from the best isn´t easy and that is what the panel of testers say every year´
I think my local, early Gourmet oil, more like juice for its green, earthiness is the best although it is to be consumed fairly quickly, this selection of oils I will definitely try – probably more than once throughout the coming year.
Over the years since its beginnings more than 600 EVOOs have been presented and 40 over prize winners mean an awful lot of excellent EVOO to be tested – I´m on it, pretty bottles too!