Getting Oriented in Mendoza
For my first day in Mendoza, I met up with Miguel Zuccardi to tour his olive mill.
Miguel is the youngest of three and has taken charge of the olive oil production program. His siblings also play an important part in the company. His brother Sebastian oversees the operations in the winery while sister Julia runs the on-site family restaurant. Their father, Jose Alberto Zuccardi, leads the company and continues to pursue the overseas market with their products.
The new olive mill at Familia Zuccardi has been designed and fabricated by Pieralisi, the same Italian olive oil company who installed the olive mill here at Long Meadow Ranch. Furnished with large, stainless steel tanks and a fresh epoxy floor, this olive mill shall prove to be one of the best in the world.
Once the mill gets going, it has the ability to process 4,000 lbs (2 tons)/hour. To compare, Long Meadow Ranch does about 400 lbs/hour. Total tank capacity is maxed out at 142,000 liters or 37,516 gallons.
In terms of acreage, Familia Zuccardi has roughly 360 acres while Long Meadow Ranch has 20 acres. Although we are different in size, our passion and commitment to quality and sustainability remain the same.
After Miguel gave me the grand tour of his olive mill, we met up with his olive oil operations manager, Mauricio Castro and an Italian Pieralisi representative. Together, we were lead through a blind tasting of 4 extra virgin olive oils that were freshly produced. We tasted through Frantoio, Farga, Manzanilla, and Arauco.
I discovered that Arauco could be the spiciest olive oil I've had thus far. Its potency and level of polyphenols (antioxidants) were off the charts. Farga proved to be a very smooth and pleasant oil, indicating to me that it was quite mature when harvested. Frantoio and Manzanilla were moderately spicy and were quite similar to how we process them at LMR.
In all, Familia Zuccardi currently produces 3 brands of oil:
After the olive oil tasting, Miguel was generous enough to treat us all for lunch in Julia Zuccardi's restaurant. The food was absolutely amazing and the olive oils showed through the dishes.
Tomorrow will be my first day of processing in the Familia Zuccardi olive mill. I am already looking forward to it after this tasting and fantastic lunch.
Posted by Jason Moulton