Tasting Mediterranean

Wine & Olive Oil

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In the European Union, olive oil is organised into grades, in which quality indicators regulating their sale have been established. Only olive oils from three grades (out of a total of eight) are suitable for consumption.

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is the highest of the quality grades. This is an oil without any flaws; it offers an intense flavour and the aroma of olives. The degree of acidity must be 0.8% or less.

VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is olive oil of solid quality. It smells and tastes like olives. The degree of acidity must be 2.0% or less. A slight unevenness in flavour and aroma will be tolerated.

OLIVE OIL is a refined oil, one that has been chemically treated and mixed with virgin olive oil. It must have 1.0% acidity or less.

Portuguese olive oils of protected origin must fall within the two highest grades: extra virgin or virgin. For assignment to a particular protected origin (DOP), a list of requirements established by the EU must be met. In this the location of the olive grove, the olive variety, the proportions of the individual types, the style of processing and the degree of acidity must be documented.

Portugal has six DOP regions for olive oil

AZEITE DE MOURA: Olive oil from the DOP region Moura is produced from the varieties Cordovil, Galega and Verdeal. The oil from this region is most often very fruity, bitter and spicy, with a golden-green colour.

AZEITE ALENTEJO INTERIOR: In the DOP region Alentejo Interior a very fruity olive oil is produced. Its flavours of apples and figs make for a very sweet oil.

AZEITE DO NORTE ALENTEJANO: Galega is the variety most commonly cultivated in the DOP region Norte Alentejano, along with the varieties Carrasquenha and Redondil. These olives yield an oil whose flavours are reminiscent of very ripe fruit.

AZEITE DO RIBATEJO: The dominant variety in the DOP region Ribatejo is the Galega olive. The oils from this region also tend to be rather sweet.

AZEITE DA BEIRA INTERIOR: Very complex olive oils come from the DOP region Beira Interior, where the predominant variety is Galega. Further north, the varieties Carrasquenha, Cobrancosa and Cornicabra are also cultivated.

AZEITE DE TRÁS-OS-MONTES: In the DOP region Trás-os-Montes the dominant varieties are the Madural, Cobrancosa and Verdeal, which yield very complex nutty olive oils, rather sweet but at the same time pungent and bitter of flavour.