For the eighth year in a row, Morgenster Estate in Somerset West outside Cape Town has been awarded a top score in the authoritative international Flos Olei guide which assesses the world's best olive oils.
Flos Olei 2017 edition awarded Morgenster 98 points out of a possible 100, the fourth year that the Estate has received 98%. A mere 14 producers around the world were awarded this score, Morgenster being the only South African producer among them. As only four producers have ever reached this ongoing level of exceptional quality, Morgenster's achievement is a real feather in the cap of South Africa's young olive oil industry.
Owner Giulio Bertrand says: "We never stop investing in the quality of our orchards and olive oil production, employ the best consultants and send our staff to work with experts in Italy. So achieving this top score is a great reward for all our hard work."
Morgenster extra virgin olive oils available at selected delicatessens, Woolworths, Spar, Pick `n Pay and Shoprite Checkers stores nationwide and the Estate's tasting room www.morgenster.co.za
Retail prices: Morgenster blended extra virgin olive oil 500 ml around R130; single cultivar Don Carlo and Monte Marcello extra virgin olive oils around R144.
1. What Flos Olei 2017 said about Morgenster:
"This farm has been present in our Guide for some years and its growth has been praised and recognized. Also the present performance is very good and as usual is due to Giulio Bertrand's dedication and enthusiasm. In 1992 he took over the farm, where wine has been produced for three centuries, and decided to aim also at olive growing. Today in the large estate of Somerset West the specialized olive grove takes up 50 hectares with 30 000 trees, which produced 3,000 quintals of olives and 600 hectolitres of oil in the last harvest.
"There are two splendid Extra Virgin Morgenster, the "basic" and Don Carlo, which is an intense limpid golden yellow colour with light green hues. Its aroma is clean and elegant, with hints of artichoke, lettuce and wild chicory, together with rich notes of mint and rosemary. Its taste is full and strong, with a flavour of black pepper and a distinct note of almond. Bitterness is definite and pungency is distinct. It would be ideal on tuna appetizers, baked porcini mushrooms, spinach salads, grilled radicchio, artichoke soups, pasta with sausages, boiled octopus, barbecued game birds or animals, hard mature cheese."
Tasting notes for the Estate blend: Morgenster extra virgin olive oil bursts with multiple layers of flavour, the result of blending oils from at least 14 different Italian cultivars grown, extracted and bottled on the Morgenster Estate. The first whiff is intense freshly cut grass with secondary aromas of green tomatoes, almonds, artichokes and green apples.
Morgenster Monte Marcello is the Estate's third extra virgin olive oil. It is made from a single Ligurian cultivar which tends to ripen later in the season and holds on to its olives till August or September. The long ripening period produces a delicate, sweeter oil, almost almondy.
2. About Flos Olei 2017 www.flosolei.com
Flos Olei is an annual guide (first edition 2010), which is the first to deal on an international scale with the world's best extra virgin olive oils, providing information about the sector and directing readers towards quality. Scoring involves an assessment of olive oils from both northern and southern hemisphere countries, conducted by a panel of expert tasters under the coordination of Marco Oreggia (www.marco-oreggia.com). Tasters follow strictly controlled tasting procedures.
Marco Oreggia, one of the world's leading expert tasters of extra virgin olive oil, is editor and publisher of Flos Olei. Vice editor is Laura Marinelli.
Flos Olei is a successor to L'Extravergine, an annual Guide last published in 2009 after nine editions, also edited by Marco Oreggia.
3. Morgenster and Flos Olei/L'Extravergine
Flos Olei 2017: Morgenster is one of 14 producers to have achieved 98/100, the highest score ever bestowed by Flos Olei. The 14 farms rated at this top level come from Italy (eight), Spain (four), Chile (one) and South Africa (Morgenster).
Flos Olei 2016: Morgenster is one of 13 producers to have achieved 98/100, the highest score ever bestowed by Flos Olei. The 13 farms rated at this top level come from Italy (eight), Spain (three), Chile (one) and South Africa (Morgenster).
Flos Olei 2015: Morgenster is one of 12 producers to have achieved 98/100, the highest score ever bestowed by Flos Olei. The 12 farms rated at this top level come from Spain (three), Italy (seven), South Africa (one - Morgenster), Chile (one).
Flos Olei 2014: Morgenster was one of 11 producers to have achieved 98/100. These 11 farms are from Spain (two), Italy (seven), South Africa (one - Morgenster), Chile (one). Morgenster also received the "Made with Love" award in the section listing the world's 20 best farms in the accompanying Flos Olei 2014 - a guide to the world of extra virgin olive oil (www.flosolei.com).
Flos Olei 2013: 14 producers achieved 97 points, six from Spain, five from Italy, and one each from Croatia, Morocco and South Africa (Morgenster). For the first time 98 points were awarded, achieved by producers in Spain (one), Italy (five) and Chile (one).
Flos Olei 2012: The 16 top achievers, scoring 97 out of a possible 100 points, came from Spain (four), Italy (eight), Morocco (one) Chile (two) and South Africa (one - Morgenster). Production from 43 countries on five continents was judged for Flos Olei 2012.
Flos Olei 2011: Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil scored 97 points out of a possible 100. 97 was the highest score awarded and Morgenster was the top South African producer. It shared 97 points with 11 other producers from Spain (two), Italy (six), Morocco (one) and Chile (two). 455 producers from 42 countries on five continents were judged.
Flos Olei 2010: Eight oils, including Morgenster, were accorded the top score of 97 out of a possible 100.
L'Extravergine 2007: Morgenster was judged "Mill of the year"
L'Extravergine 2006: Morgenster was judged "Best Blended Olive Oil in the world".
*Other international awards are listed at www.morgenster.co.za
4. Morgenster's impact on the South African olive oil industry:
When Giulio Bertrand moved from Italy to South Africa in 1992 and bought Morgenster, he found that good quality extra virgin olive oil was not being produced locally. When he learnt that the farm's terroir could produce olive oil and wine in line with the best in the world, he established a long-term partnership with Prof. Giuseppe Fontanazza of the Italian Institute of Olive Research and imported 2000 olive trees covering 14 cultivars from the north to the south and the islands of Italy and established them in his nursery. The farm now has over 50 hectares of olive groves covering 17 different Italian varieties.
In pursuing its own quality and excellence objectives Morgenster has effectively rebirthed South Africa's olive oil industry. From its nursery the Estate has supplied 1.1million new olive tree cultivars to farms in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. 4.3 million of the 5 million trees planted in South Africa since 1994 are descendants of Bertrand's original 2000 imported trees. Morgenster continues to provide the most up to date oil extraction plant technology, harvesting and pruning equipment and production expertise to local farms. As a result of all these initiatives, South African olive oils now win important international awards and the country is recognised as being among the world's top olive oil producing nations. In August 2012 the SA Olive Association honoured Bertrand with a Life Time Achiever trophy for these contributions to the local olive oil industry.
5. Issued on behalf of the Morgenster Estate by Avril Mills of North & South PR. For further information, interviews or photographs please contact: avril@northandsouthpr or tel 011 465 3130/082 782 7991
6. The Morgenster olive product range is available at selected delicatessens, Woolworths, Spar, Pick `n Pay, Shoprite Checkers stores and the Estate's tasting room.
7. Morgenster Estate 27 (0) 21 852 1738, www.morgenster.co.za
8. Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate in the Helderberg ward of Stellenbosch has 50 hectares of olive groves. Its 30 000 trees cover 17 different Italian varieties originating from the north, the south and the islands of Italy.
9. Morgenster produces internationally acclaimed wines and premium extra virgin olive oils and olive products which reflect owner Giulio Bertrand's philosophy of 'Quality without compromise'.