Jaén Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils
When you live in Spain´s largest olive oil producing province and you like the stuff an exciting time of the year is when Jaén Selección is announced.
Always happy to sample a new extra virgin olive oil it is also the bottles that grab my attention when the prizes are announced each January for the best of the season.
A panel of expert testers have the job of sampling extra virgin olive oils from around the province of Jaén. In the far north of Andalucia where it meets the border of Castilla – La Mancha Jaén produces some exquisite oils from the 66 million olive trees which create a ´sea of green.´
Beginning in 2003 the local council launched the Jaén Selección competition to pick out the best extra virgin olive oils of the season and to drive the awareness of the superb oils produced in this the least known province of Andalucia. The choosing of eight premium quality oils put of 64 from 36 different town is a sort after prize for many producers and competition is tough.
This year the winning oils – emblems of Jaén all of the best excellent quality and each like wine each distinctive with its own sharpness, flavour and even colour.. So what are this year´s best? 2021 sees eight oils chosen by blind tastings by the nation´s professional tasters. This year all eight are from Picual varitey of olive, 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´
Since its beginnings over 600 EVOOs have been presented with 40 prize winners, that means an awful lot of excellent EVOOs to be tested – I´m working my way through this years but it might take a while. The bottles are pretty too but not as good as some years.
Which is your favourite? I´m not keen on the Mergoliva the ecological oil, it looks like a tonic bottle to me. My favourite bottle design? The Hacienda La Laguna Iike that it is green bottle that is a bit different but I could be biased because I know the factory and on its old site is a wonderful Olive Oil Museum should you ever be heading to Jaén it is worth a visit.