Blend or single varietal? Wine experts will tell you that there is a place for both. Some people love the characteristic flavours of a particular variety, perhaps the bracing acidity of sauvignon blanc or even the spiciness of a shiraz. Others prefer to have the best of all worlds, enjoying wines that are blends of various varieties, combining the best of each in one wine.
Olive oil works on a similar principle. There are many varieties of olive and the oil that each one makes has unique characteristics. These oils can be sold as single variety oils or they can be blended together to form an olive oil which showcases the best of the varieties included.
The art of blending olive oil is seldom experienced by those who are not in the olive industry themselves. It is an art, understanding which varieties to use and in what quantities, to create the flavour profile desired.
Vergenoegd wine estate has recently changed ownership and is reinventing itself as an exciting and unique destination on the Stellenbosch wine route. Apart from the usual wine tasting offering, the estate is giving visitors the opportunity to try their hand at blending. The blending workshops are not just for wine blending, but also for tea blending, coffee blending and olive oil blending.
We visited the estate to try the olive oil blending and we were very impressed with the experience. Participants each have their own blending station with a selection of single variety oils and some blending beakers. We were given Mission, Leccino and Coratina oils to work with.
The first thing we did was taste each of the 3 oils to understand their characteristics and to decide which one we liked best. The oil we selected as our favourite became the base (60%) of the blend and we added 40% of the other 2 oils to see how they tasted as a blend.
We selected Coratina as our favourite, a very intense oil. Blended with Mission it seemed to lose its personality but blended with Leccino it retained some of its personality but the rough edges had been removed, it was softer, more balanced. The Coratina and Leccino blend was definitely our favourite.
Participants can opt to purchase a personalised bottle of their favourite blend. It is blended, bottled and labelled with a personalised label while you wait.
If you need to wait, we highly recommend with picnics which can be enjoyed on the lawn in the shade of the trees, overlooking the dam.
Find out more and book your blending experience at the Vergenoegd website