The first Spanish National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Team Tasting Championship was a resounding success. Held in Priego de Cordoba in Southern Spain the championship attracted 13 teams of 3 from all over Spain. Staged by the PDO for the region Priego de Córdoba (ASCCAL) and International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes the event used the Savantes Tasting Skills Test and additional exercises to assess the tasting ability of the teams.
Included in the tests were extra virgin olive oils contributed by producers from France, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal with the varietals including ocale, picual, arbequina, hojblanca, coratina, cobrancosa, galega, koroneiki, changlot real, manzanilla, cornicabra, l’aglandau, olivastra seggianese, tonda iblei and picuda. An important activity of Savantes is to encourage recognition and appreciation of extra virgin olive oils from all varietals and regions around the world.
The skills exhibited by the tasting teams were outstanding with Fermin Rodriguez Jimenez becoming the first to achieve Savante status since the introduction of the skills test fifteen years ago. Twenty participants achieved Associate Savante status which requires a score of 60% or more in the test, full Savantes status requires 80% or more.
The winning team of Fermin Rodriguez Jimenez, Andres Rivadeneyra Sicilia and Jose Antonio Torres Aguilera were all in the top 5 scorers. The team that came second comprising Cristina Gariddo Lorite, Laura Gonzalez Coronado and Patricia Gamez Tena was the only team to score 100% on the coupage test. All became Associate Savantes.
The Championship also included teams of tasters who had learned to taste in the tasting programme for children presented by ASCCAL. One of the alumni from this programme, Janet Morales Aguilera, became the youngest ever Associate Savante.
The event was supervised by a technical panel which authenticated the tests prior to the championship and ensured that all the rules were respected. The technical panel comprised Jose Maria Penco (AEMO), Rafael Muela (Mueloliva), Brigida Jimenez Herrera (IFAPA), Paqui García González (ASCCAL) and Simon Field (Savantes).
The second Spanish National Championship is already being planned to take place in Priego de Cordoba in February 2017 with the possibility of inviting teams from other producing countries as an introduction to the event. An International Championship between winning teams from participating countries is being planned for 2018.
The second North American Tasting Championship is being held in Chicago on 20th July and will include team tasting. Details are available at www.oliveoilconference.com