Following the announcement of the 2017 #SAOliveAwards & #AbsaTop10 Olive Oils Awards in South Africa, we are presenting a series of interviews with each Gold winning producer.
Absa Top 10 2017 Winner (7 of 10): Rio Largo Gold EVOO
Name: Rio Largo Gold EVOO
Cultivars: Frantoio and Leccino
Litres Produced: 7500 litres
Fresh and delicate on the nose, almond and artichoke with some sweetness in the mouth. Balance on the palate.
About Rio Largo Estate:
Rio Largo is situated on the banks of the Breede River between Robertson and Worcester. Owned by Nick and Brenda Wilkinson, the estate comprises olive orchards, vines, an olive specific nursery and an olive processing and bottling plant. This is Karoo country. The hot dry summers with low humidity levels create perfect growing and ripening conditions for both olives and grapes. Summer daytime temperatures can be high but the afternoon southeasterly breezes from Cape Agulhas, the “wind doctor” in local parlance, brings relief and cool nights.
Rainfall is minimal which together with high sunshine hours and specific computer controlled irrigation out of the Brandvlei dam makes for a controlled agricultural environment to produce high-quality fruit.
Nick Wilkinson, a Chartered Accountant by profession, spent twenty years in Central Africa where he established a reputation for “fixing” failed large-scale farming enterprises on behalf of blue-chip international investors. In Nick’s words “if you cannot measure it, you cannot control it– stick to the rules, no shortcuts and pay attention to detail” which formed the backbone of a successful career, the basis of which continues at RIO LARGO. Nick went to UC DAVIS CALIFORNIA in 2015 to study more about production techniques and is passionate about all he does at RIO LARGO, from tree to table.
Oil Maker & 2017 Harvest:
Nick Wilkinson: “Tough drought year with quick early ripening and smaller crop – lower yields and less overripe fruit.”
Sweet almond-rich in vegetal hints of artichoke and chicory with aromatic herbs. Bitterness is present and pungency limited.
Soups and green salads or simply dunking warm fresh bread, subtle enhancing flavours when drizzled over poultry and fish.
Where to Buy:
Online via YUPPIECHEF, selected Checkers and Spar stores and delis. Also sold internationally.