Aceite de la Alcarria
Aceite de la Alcarria is a Spanish DOP extra-virgin olive oil obtained from the fruit of the olive tree, of the local variety Castellana (Verdeja) by mechanical processes or other physical means that do not lead to deterioration of the oil, conserving the taste, aroma and characteristics of the fruit from which it is obtained. It is allowed a maximum acidity of 0,7 %.
The predominant colour is lime green, varying in intensity depending on the time of harvest and degree of maturity of the olives. From an organoleptic perspective, the oils of this variety are fruity and aromatic, with a clear leafy smell, combining flavours of grass and hazelnut or plantain, occasionally with a spicy aftertaste.
Specific rules concerning slicing, grating, packaging, etc.
In order to preserve the typical characteristics of the product at all stages, the bottling process is carried out within the accepted geographical area. In this way, the inspection bodies can have total control of the production and the final handling of the product remains in the hands of the area's producers. These are the people who best know how these oils react to the bottling methods, such as time and method of decanting, filtration operations, diatomaceous earth, cellulose, bottling temperatures, reaction to cold and to storage. All of this, aimed at preserving the typical characteristics of the product, guarantees the traceability of the oils. The bottler should have separate systems for bottling the oils from the protected denomination of origin and for bottling any other oils. Likewise, the bottler must have type-approved systems for measuring oil. The oil should be bottled in containers of glass, coated metal, PET or vitrified ceramic.
Specific rules on labelling
The label on the oil will include, along with the sales name, the words Denominación de Origen (or D.O.) Aceite de La Alcarria and, optionally, the mark of conformity from the product certification body for the control structure. The containers in which the protected oil is packaged for consumption will bear a seal of warranty, label or numbered label on the back applied and inspected by the inspection body in such a way that the seal cannot be reused. The labelling must comply with the general rules on labelling.
Brief description of the geographical area
The region of La Alcarria includes 95 municipalities from the province of Guadalajara and 42 municipalities from the province of Cuenca.
Link with the geographical area
Defined by strong changes in temperature, with very hot summers of over 35 °C and very cold winters with frequent frosts and low rainfall. Precipitation is distributed throughout spring and autumn. The average annual temperature is around 13 °C, indicating an average of 3 °C for the coldest month and an average of 21 °C for the hottest month.
The defining characteristic of the soils is the very high concentration of CaCO3 (calcium carbonate), as well as the low level of organic material, the quite pronounced slopes and hence the low stability of the soil. From an agricultural perspective, the soil is very poor. The altitude of the municipalities of La Alcarria reaches heights of between 700 and 900 metres above sea level.
Specificity of the product
Aceite de La Alcarria has the following characteristics:
- Very balanced and stable oil because of the ratio of saturated to non-saturated fatty acids.
- High oleic acid content.
- The ratio of carotene to chlorophyll defines the characteristic shade of the oils of this denomination of origin.
- From an organoleptic perspective, the oils of this Castellana variety (Verdeja) are fruity and aromatic, with a rounded leafy smell, and occasionally a spicy aftertaste.
Link between the geographical area and the quality or characteristics of the product
The specific soil and weather conditions of the area have played a large part in the natural selection in making this region the only one in which this virgin olive oil, monovarietal in variety, Castellana or Verdeja, is produced. Climatically it is perfectly able to tolerate frost of up to – 5 °C without an excessive increase in the peroxide value. With regard to the link between the geological and soil conditions, it is worth noting how the sloping, very shallow, alkaline and saline soil formation has again left its mark in the form of a crop that is subject to continuous stress, these aspects having in turn acted as a means of natural selection, leading to low production and product differentiation. The Castellana variety together with the specific soil and weather conditions of the area give the oil its particular physical-chemical and organoleptic characteristics as mentioned above.
Reference: The European Commission