Here is a closer look at the main olive oil strip in Maipu and the four top producers in the area.
Located right off the main drag of Ozamis in Russel, Maipu, Olivicola Simone is a petite processing site that produces big, bold flavors. Owned by father and son Miguel and Jose Luis Simone, they offer personalized tastings of their products in their tasting room on site, which is also where they sell all of their products since you will not find them on store shelves where you can also buy non-olive products ranging from sun-dried tomatoes to chutneys, nuts, and jams. (Ozamis Sur 1553 Russell, 0261- 481 1151, www.olivicolasimone.com)
Going from one family business to the next, Olivicola Maguay was our next stop only a few blocks down the road. Here the farmland and family business have been around since 1920, and it shows in not only the quality of their product, but also the elegant architecture and antique feel of their estates on site. They offer bilingual tours through their olive trees and production houses where you can learn about the entire life cycle of the olive. Maguay’s flagship product is their collection of brined olives, but their extra virgin olive oils are elegant, refined and worthy of equal recognition. (Ozamis Sur 1491 Russel, 0261 497 2632, www.maguay.com.ar)
Olivicola Laur stands out for its fantastic informative tour of their facilities and on-site olive oil museum. In the museum they have collected old tools and presses from the first olives pressed in Mendoza, and their friendly guides take you through each step of the history and process. After, they offer a tasting of their products in their well-stocked storefront. One of their standout products includes their Blend de Terroir Olive Oil collection where each line is produced only from olives from one distinctive region in Mendoza. They also are constructing a soon-to-be-finished restaurant/café on site for visitors to eat and relax in on their beautiful property. (Videla Aranda 2850, Cruz de Piedra, 0261- 499 0716, www.laursa.com.ar)
When you enter Pasrai, you feel like you’ve just stumbled upon a secret garden. Their reception area is full of olive, lemon, peach, cherry, and apricot trees, along with beautiful flower and herb plants that thrive on their sunny patio. On their tour you learn how Pasrai has dedicated themselves to the traditional practices of olive oil making, and how this business has run in the Muravnik family blood for decades (hence the name of their extra virgin olive oil line ‘Quinta Generacion’ or Fifth Generation). From their outstanding flavored olive oils to their deliciously sweet dried fruit and sundried tomatoes, it is unlikely you will leave empty handed after the tasting at the end of the tour. Reservation recommended. (Ozamis Sur 2731 Russel, (0261) 154 7076 76, www.pasrai.com.ar)
By Elizabeth Butler
Published in the December 2012/January 2013 edition of Wine Republic