Updated: Aug 27
It is known as the “Diamond of Molise”, this exceptional olive variety called Gentile Nera. Molise is the region of Italy where the Timperio family have cultivated this variety for generations, producing our sought after extra virgin olive oil (EVOO or EVO oil).
We want to tell you what is so good about our family’s Gentile Nera EVOO, and explain what qualities it possesses that put it at the top of the list of superb olive oils.
What exactly is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin is the most superior quality olive oil. It must have a flavour of fresh olives and zero defects in flavor, scent and appearance. It is produced by mechanical methods only where no chemicals or solvents are used. The temperature must be maintained at cool levels (below 30°C or 86°F) to retain the best and most healthy aspects of the oil.
Molise is the newest region of Italy . . and one of the smallest
Molise is a beautiful mountainous region stretching inland from its 40km of Italy’s eastern Adriatic coastline. Despite its small size, it has striking climatic variations and very diverse geographical features.
Officially formed in 1963 from what was Abruzzo & Molise, it really only came into existence in practice around 1970. Its mountains conceal a scattering of little gems, such as beautiful and remote villages, and a rich history of agriculture.
The numbers are impressive:
2.5 million olive trees grow here, spread over 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) grown on 600 farms and harvested by 130 mills. Olive groves are found everywhere, from the inland mountainsides, right down to the coast.
Molise is a very significant contributor to Italy’s famous olive oil industry. It’s special, it’s very beautiful, and it produces the superb Gentile Nera olive.
About Colletorto and the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Molise® scheme
Gentile Nera of Colletorto and its extra virgin olive oil are registered under the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Molise® scheme. This sets the standard for high quality output and protects the great reputation of the area for producing top class EVOO.
Colletorto is where our family farms the olive groves that produce the Gentile Nera olive cultivar. It’s a village of fewer than 2,000 people right in the middle of Molise. Wikipedia mentions its
“extra virgin olive oil of excellent quality."
How can you recognize great extra virgin olive oil?
There are 3 really important factors when judging extra virgin olive oil quality:
Low Acidity – The lower the better. A low acid level means higher smoke point (the temperature at which cooking oil burns). The best extra virgin olive oil has acidity of less than 0.4 to 0.5%.
Organoleptic Qualities – These are what you experience through your senses (taste, smell, sight). Flavour is the most important. Olive oil is judged by experts who are experienced in sensory analysis and sensory skill. The result is on a scale measured from 0 to 10 where a score of 6.5 or better would represent excellent extra virgin olive oil.
Polyphenol Content - Polyphenols occur naturally in many plants and are associated with health benefits such as reducing bad cholesterol, improving mental health and a whole range of other benefits. They are measured as milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). You want the best possible health content in your EVOO. An average high end EVOO is around 100-250 mg/kg. Polyphenols are what give olives their bitter, pungent flavour.
How do we know that Gentile Nera of Colletorto produces a great EVOO?
As you can see from the official lab analysis results here, our EVOO typically has these qualities:
Very low acidity level of 0.28%
Beautiful flavour and aroma – peppery on the back of your throat and a bouquet full of fresh fruit aromas
High polyphenol content of about 300 mg/kg
Try Gentile Nera of Colletorto extra virgin olive oil for yourself
Great olive oils are like great wines in many regards. Connoisseurs try many varieties and producers, and keep the very best ones on their shelves and in their kitchens.
There is one thing for sure – you will not regret savouring its very special flavour and health giving benefits.