Top olive oils awarded

Danie Goosen, Wildekrans; Chris van Niekerk, Mardouw; and Nick Wilkinson, Rio Largo.

The 16th annual olive oil competition in memory of Marco Zichella, took place recently, and the winners were announced in Stellenbosch on Saturday October 28.

This prize was instituted in 2002 by Marco Zichella’s wife, Piera, and his daughter, Benedetta, to honour his vision and his passion for olive oil.

The participating oils, all produced on Oliomio/Mori-Tem equipment, manufactured in Tuscany, were entered for a blind tasting by a tasting panel, led by Linda Costa.

The judges, Reni Hildenbrand, Louise Rabie, Nico Loubser, Gert van Dyk and Benedetta Lami, were delighted with the excellent quality of the oils, more confirmation that South Africa is producing olive oils which can compete with the best internationally.

The oils were evaluated and awarded prizes based on the perception of positive characteristics, with emphasis on attributes such as harmony – balance – and complexity of the samples.

The prize-giving ceremony took place at Benedetta’s home in Stellenbosch, and the guests were treated to a light lunch and wines provided by Stellenbosch Vineyards.

The three winners in the different categories received a hand-painted ceramic plate, with the Zichella family crest.

Rio Largo Gold from the Scherpenheuwel Valley won first prize in the delicate category; Wildekrans Keerweer from Bot River won first prize, Lapithos from Scherpenheuwel Valley won second prize, and Olyvenbosch was awarded an honourable mention in the medium category.

Mardouw Premium XXV Intense from Swellendam won first prize, Andante Intenso from Porterville won second prize, and Kransfontein from Stillbaai was awarded an honourable mention in the intense category.