Corti Brothers Newsletter
for July 2003 Page
To Our Customers: Page
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In this newsletter there are some new products which I
found on my travels at the end of 2002. Others are new productions of some
old favorites. All of these are meant to enliven, excite, improve, and otherwise
make delicious your mid summer food experiences. Since some new oils are
featured in this newsletter, please give us a shipping address where your
package can be received and not left in the heat or sun, since this is detrimental
to oil and foodstuffs in general.
NEW OILS FROM THE MARCHES AND LIGURIA
Corti Brothers has offered since 1980 the lovely, light fruity oils from
ARDOINO, the most noted producer of oil on the Italian Riviera. Nanni Ardoino,
the last Ardoino, was an oil merchant, not an oil grower, who selected oils
from selected press houses, some of which are now competitors. The Ardoino
family had been in the oil business since the 1870s. Delivery of oils on
two sailing vessels plying the Riviera was the hallmark of the Ardoino firm.
Towards the end of his life, when under the specter of a lengthy, debilitating
disease, Nanni sold his firm to Pietro Isnardi, from another very old and famous
oil shipping family of Imperia, who continues the Ardoino tradition. The Isnardi
family story is terrific in itself; " but that is another newsletter."
A lot of our customers will not use any oil other than the Ardoino VALL'AUREA,
which is an oil pressed from the traditional Ligurian variety, Taggiasca, grown
in western Liguria, the Riviera di Ponente. It is Ardoino's most important product.
Wrapped in gold foil to protect against light, it is found in most, if not all,
of the famous restaurants of northern Italy and southern France. An unfiltered,
light fruity intensity oil, this is what you would use for light meats, fish
above all, making pesto, and anywhere you want a delicate oil flavor.
The rare specialty of Ardoino is BIANCARDO, the latest picked oil in Italy.
This is produced only in years when it can be--only twelve times since
1981--from very high grown trees at the top of the Ligurian Alps which
separate Liguria from Piemonte. Here the fruit matures only in the spring,
and BIANCARDO is pressed in April and May. The 2003 harvest has produced
a very small quantity and we can offer it until we are sold out. If you
have never tasted this opalescent, ripe, sweet oil, you should. With a
unique taste profile, this is the only oil of its kind produced. We must
limit orders to 3-500ml bottles per customer.
A new oil for Corti Brothers is LE PRIME SPREMITURE The First Pressings produced
from Taggiasca olives, harvested in March, 2003, from the valleys just north
of Imperia, the traditional area for this variety. It is in the Biancardo style,
lighter than the Vall'Aurea, made from olives harvest earlier. It is very difficult
to produce late harvest oils: the dead ripe fruit is much more delicate and requires
expert handling. The use of granite stone mills and the "selective filtration," or
percolation of the Sinolea system of extraction, permits the production of these
very delicate oils. LE PRIME SPREMITURE is a wonderful example of soft, light
Ardoino Vall'Aurea 500ml Sold out.
500ml Sold out.
Ardoino Le Prime Spremiture 500ml Sold out.
We have offered previously the oils of the FATTORIA
PETRINI, in the Marche,
and it has very loyal fans. A family run estate, in 2003, Fattoria Petrini,
celebrates 10 years of being an organically certified property growing its
own olives and producing its oils. Petrini, located in the province of Ancona,
grows cultivars that are completely different from those used by Ardoino,
yet both producers are famous for their light fruity intensity oils. In fact,
Petrini has won several Ercole Olivario awards given by the Italian government
only for estate produced oils. I was a taster at the 1993 tasting where Fattoria
Petrini won the first prize in this category and subsequent awards have come
in 1994,1995, 2000, and 2002.
It is not well known, but the Marche on Italy's Adriatic coast used to be
the most important suppliers of oil to the Florence market. Tuscany was always
a net importer of oil. The local production did not supply demand, and shipping
oil over the Appenines, which separate Tuscany from the Marche, was not difficult.
But then, this was before the Tuscans got to like their own very green oil!
The Fattoria Petrini cultivars are the local ones, typical of central Italy.
SAN VITO is the oil made from these. It is a light green, light fruity intensity
oil, but with less ripe sweet fruitiness than the Ligurian model. A specialty
is the RAGGIA DI SAN VITO produced from a single cultivar, Raggia or Razzo, found
only in the northern Marche, and now rarely planted due to very low production.
In fact Petrini is the only producer making a unique, separate production.
Both of these oils will find favor with customers wishing a light fruitiness,
with a light body and without the aggressive flavor and bitterness of intense
fruity oils. These are wonderful salad and summer use oils that do not overpower
fresh flavors. It seems that a lot of oils today appear to be very aggressive
and powerful. The Ardoino and Petrini oils are wonderfully elegant and silky.
This is another world of olive oil.
THE NEW OIL LABELING REGULATIONS
Since I am dealing with oil, I would like to tell you that beginning with
the coming 2003 harvest, oil regulations in the European Union will change
dramatically, and for the better. The EU regulation (1019/2002), governing
labeling of oil for retail sale, will require that extra virgin oil bear
the following statement: "This
is an olive oil of superior category produced directly from olives and only through
The new requirement for olive oil (aka pure olive oil)--composed of refined olive
oil and virgin oils--must say that it is "oil containing exclusively olive
oil which has undergone a refining process and oil produced directly from olives." These
terms must be expressed in the producer's language or in that of the buyer.
If the label indicates that the oil is first cold pressed, (prima spremitura
a freddo) it must have been produced from the first pressing with a traditional
hydraulic press at a temperature less than 27ø C. The term cold extraction
(estratto a freddo) is reserved for oil produced at a temperature of less than
27ø C using a percolation (Sinolea) system or a centrifugal system (decanting
The only taste descriptors allowed are fruity (fruttato); bitter (amaro); pungent
The indication of acidity percent is allowed only if followed
by the peroxide index, wax content and ultraviolet absorption. These are
respectively, indices of levels of rancidity, presence of pomace oil, and
refined oil. Extra virgin oil must not have any of these defects or blendings.
The law will be in effect for all of the EU member oil producing countries.
It seems daunting, but perhaps some order will come to olive oil.