Photo by Nicholas Coleman


Coleman Collection #31





Harvest Date

May, 2023


La Estrella, Chile

In the 1950’s – the Alonsos, a family of Chilean shoemakers, began searching for the ideal location to produce the world’s best olive oil.  The country had many vineyards and wineries, so why not olive groves and the infrastructure needed to produce oil?  They settled in Chile’s VI region, built a dam to offset a water shortage, and over time planted four hundred hectares of Italian Frantoio, Leccino and Nocellara, Greek Koroneiki and Spanish Picual, Arbosana and Arbequina olives – all milled today using an Alfa Laval three phase machine.  The Alonsos became early champions of Chilean monocultivar oils – that is, oils produced from one olive variety – each of which varies in aroma, flavor and texture.

After touring the groves and tasting samples from their master tanks, we’ve selected a rare, early harvest Nocellara oil.  This cultivar traditionally hails from Sicily.  In table form, the Castelvetrano olive, is a medium sized, round green fruit that graces charcuterie boards and dirty martinis around the world.  When extracted for oil it’s known simply as Nocellara.  Only in 2023 did Alonso early-harvest this cultivar, which produces a low yield with a clean, aromatic, and balanced flavor profile.  This release marks its inaugural entry into North America.

Oils produced from early harvest Nocellara olives tend to be fruity and vibrant, with hints of green apple skin or green tomato vine, ending with a balanced peppery finish.  The cause of this intense peppery sensation – considered an attribute of quality olive oil – is oleocanthal, a natural phenolic compound that has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  These oils are quite assertive when used as a finishing oil and can add to the food a pleasing zesty element.

Daring and confident producers supported by progressive legislation have made Chile a great winemaking country with diverse offerings.  Sauvignon Blanc has emerged as the leading white grape variety with Cabernet Sauvignon the red wine production grape of choice.  Many of the best vineyard sites are located in the fertile river-fed valleys where grapes bask in high elevation landscapes soaking in the warm sun and cool mountain breezes.  The whites are best paired with fresh and zippy tomato sauce dishes, while the reds compliment a variety of grilled fare.