Wine & Other Stories

Almazara Ecológica de La Rioja: interview with Vicente Catalán

Written by Veronica Lavenia

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Almazara Ecológica de La Rioja was born from a family project, run by three brothers. An olive-growing project dedicated to organic cultivation and sustainability that places the company among the most avant-garde reality of the sector.

Early harvest and cold extraction are just a few key elements that guarantee high quality to the company’s production.

ISUL is the flagship of Almazara Ecológica de La Rioja, an EVOO rich in polyphenols and nutrients that make it an ideal ally for a healthy diet, as Vicente Catalán explains.

© Almazara Ecológica de La Rioja

Almazara Ecológica de La Rioja has opted for the production of organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and for sustainability, respectful of the environment and the consumer. Can you describe the characteristics of your company philosophy?

We cultivate our own olive grove and, in our oil mill, we produce organic Extra virgin olive oil. We are specialized in the extraction of a single type of olive oil: Extra virgin of superior quality and organic. In our olive oil we combine three characteristics that make it irreplaceable for a healthy and tasty diet:

  1. Extra virgin: with all the health benefits;
  2. Tasting: with awards every year;
  3. Organic: Total absence of residues potentially harmful to health;

More. We export to various European countries: France, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Holland. In Spain we have specialized in sending our ISUL-5 liter can directly to the consumer’s home.

We welcome visitors who want to know more about this excellent food, the essence of the Mediterranean Diet.

© Almazara Ecológica de La Rioja

Your olive groves are located in the generous Rioja region. What are the characteristics of the territory that make the production special?

ISUL, our organic Extra virgin olive oil, is the result of an olive grove planted in a shallow limestone farm located between Mount Yerga and the Ebro river in Alfaro (Il Rioja). This privileged situation with the influence of the Mediterranean, Atlantic and continental climates, together with the great thermal contrast between day and night and our passion and dedication with which we take care of our organic olive grove, creates a unique oil, with a well-combined fruity green and ripe and a balanced and exquisite palate.

ISUL has exceptional quality indices, a splendid tasting, is organic, ideal for a healthy diet. To make 1 liter of ISUL, 7 kg of 100% mixed olives are required and, after careful selection and cold processing, an EVOO rich in aromas is born.

Which cultivar is present in your olive grove?

In the 50 hectares the predominant variety is Arbequina, an irrigation company and the frame of the predominant plantation is 6×6. The olive groves are located in the Ebro Valley at an altitude of 310 meters above sea level. ISUL‘s added value is its oil mill.

For the average consumer, can you explain what are the advantages of an oil mill located inside the olive grove?

There are several added values, we mention a few:

  1. Three brothers, therefore family-run;
  2. Owned olive grove. In this way, we have absolute control from the moment the olive tree is planted;
  3. The four fundamental points, mandatory to extract the best from the olive and its juice, are: Healthy olive;
  4. Quick extraction as the olive is harvested;
  5. Cold extraction temperatures;
  6. Stainless steel.

It is easy to understand that, having owned the olive grove and oil mill, these points are thoroughly checked.

© Almazara Ecológica de La Rioja

How does the harvest take place?

Three vibrators and two trailers for mechanized harvesting and ten men with blankets for manual harvesting.

When there is a sufficient quantity of organic olive in the trailer, it is unloaded into the mill (mill located in the center of the olive grove), cleaned, weighed, ground, beaten and the juice (organic extra virgin olive oil) is extracted.

In our oil mill we have eliminated two industrial processes: the vertical centrifuge and the filter. For this, we extract a little oil and clean. The organic Extra virgin olive oil is decanted by gravity into the tanks (for about eight weeks), a racking is carried out to clean the bottom of the tanks and is ready to be bottled, eliminating two industrial processes and in full compliance with the four points mentioned above. , we have achieved superior quality, keeping the birds and with a stability of more than three years.

Why is ISUL so special?

For something that seems obvious, to be an Extra Virgin Olive Oil and also Organic. In such a competitive market, it is not easy for a consumer understand when an oil is Extra Virgin. To be classified as Extra Virgin, EVOO must pass two tests, laboratory and tasting panel. A consumer cannot bear the cost of an analysis and, sometimes, is unable to detect the slight defects that exist between an Extra Virgin, a Virgin or Lampante oil.

In addition, ISUL is special in taste and smell. Being an irrigated company, Arbequina variety and with the aforementioned microclimate, we get a great intensity in the fruity and with a slight itch and bitterness.

In EVOO’s, tingle and bitterness are attributes, but we are seeing that many consumers prefer the bitterness and itchiness to be subtle, as in ISUL.

About the author

Veronica Lavenia

Writer, book author and magazine contributor, some of her works have appeared in the most popular International magazines.
Digital Content Manager and Communication Manager at "The Wolf Post", since the birth of the platform.

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