SA Olive and Absa instituted the Top 5 competition in 2013 as an extension to the annual SA Olive Awards. The 10 top performers from the SA Olive Awards are eligible to make the Top 5 cut. Ten finalists are selected from this pool and narrowed down to the Top 5. The Absa Top 5 olive oils were selected from the ranks of the SA Olive Awards 2015 top achievers by a revered panel of olive oil experts.
The competition provides a platform for the South African olive oil industry to showcase its very finest. South African oils are regularly recognised around the world for their quality and distinctiveness, and competitions like the Absa Top 5 play a pivotal role in educating local consumers about the industry and its diverse spectrum of products. According to Willie Zastron, Absa Provincial Head for Business Banking in the Western Cape, the Absa Top 5 aims to shine the spotlight on the superlative quality of these oils, thus increasing awareness and helping consumers to appreciate SA olive oil for the national treasure it has become.
PROFILE OF FINALISTS OF THE ABSA TOP 5 COMPETITION 2016
Along the Gou Kou river, Stillbaai on the western side, is the olive producing farm Kransfontein, owned by Altus Joubert. In previous days the land belonged to the famous writer Wilbur Smith.
The farm boasts more or less 10 000 olive trees which include three cultivars which are made into single variety oils. Coratina and Frantoio both received Gold in the SA Olive Association competition and the oil from Mission olives received Silver. Due to terrace farming most of the tree maintenance is done by hand. Kransfontien also presses their own olive oil and all olives are pressed the same day as picked.
Oil: Kransfontein Coratina Olive Oil
Tasting notes: Sweet , floral and cocao on the nose, with green flavours of artichokes, walnut skins and olive leaves.
Situated in the Nuy Valley, where the terrior is perfect for growing and cultivating olive groves, is the largest South African olive plant – Willow Creek Olive Estate. Owned by Andries and Louise Rabie, the planting of 265ha commenced in 1999. The lime rich soils, Mediterranean climate, access to irrigation water and the correct tending of the groves delivers flavourful fruit for the production of the estate’s olive oil. The latest technology is utilised to extract extra virgin olive oil of the best quality possible. recipe.
Oil: Willow Creek Directors Reserve
Tasting notes: Verdant aromas of artichokes, green olives and tomato vines are accentuated by notes of wild rocket, salad herbs and walnuts. The flavours follow through on the palate with a satisfying bitterness and tingling pungency to present a harmonious, full rounded flavour profile.
Marbrin Olive Growers
A small family-run boutique olive farm nestled in the renowned Robertson Breede River Valley surrounded by the Langeberg and Riviersonderend Mountains.
Peter Coetsee planted the first trees in 1997 and pressed his first oil in 2011, which is when he won his first Gold Medal. His daughter, Briony and partner, Clive Heymans, returned from living abroad for many years to take over the farm in 2012 and they have won a minimum of one Gold Medal for every vintage produced since. This is the third time in the 4 years that Absa has been running these awards that their oils have been shortlisted as the best in the country.
Oil: Marbrin Intense Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tasting notes: This oil is robust and intense in fruitiness with flavours of green tomatoes, avocado, green apples and hints of walnuts all balanced with a strong peppery finish.
Established in 2005, The Greenleaf Olive Company’s family-owned-and-run olive estate is situated near the beautiful village of Malgas along the tranquil banks of the Breede River. With over 300 hectares currently planted, comprising of nine different cultivars and further plantings underway great emphasis is placed on innovative technology, alternative farming and processing methods and eco-efficiency.
Oil: Greenleaf Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tasting Notes: A fragrant, delicate oil pressed from green fruit, this oil carries notes of green tomato, walnut and banana with well-balanced hints bitter and pepperiness.
Gabrielskloof Wine & Olive Estate
Tucked away in rolling valleys, just an hour out of Cape Town in a South Eastern direction, lies the secret gem of the Bot River wine route – Gabriëlskloof. In 2001 general manager and viticulturist, Barry Anderson, passed on his passion about the potential for the land to Bernhard Heyns, and from then there was no looking back for Gabriëlskloof. After carefully matching cultivars with the terroir, the first vines and olive trees were planted in 2002.
Oil: Gabriëlskloof Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tasting notes: A medium well balanced Extra Virgin Olive oil showing green and ripe olives, grass, olive leaf, artichoke, and pine seed.