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Nov 1, 2006 06:58 PM

Prunatelli, Vertrice or Monte Tuscan Olive Oil from Rare Wine Co.?

I'm looking for a special Tuscan olive oil as a condiment for ribollita. The oils made by the Grati family of Rufina - Prunatelli, Vertrice and Monte - have been recommended to me. They're still in stock at the importer, Rare Wine Company of Sonoma, and are well-priced. I have not tasted these before and am seeking advice on which would be the best for this purpose. TIA!

2005 Tuscan olive oil offering, see last page -

Ribollita inquiry on Home Cooking board -

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  1. Here's the follow-up. When I told Mark at Rare Wine Co. that I wanted an aromatic, grassy, less ripe, and sharply peppery oil as a condiment for ribollita, he recommended the Vertrice over the other two. Since it's been a year since harvest I was concerned that some olive oils might have lost their bite. The 2005 Vertrice turned out to be exactly right for this application.

    When I got home with the bottle, I popped the cork and poured myself a teaspoonful. It didn't occur to me that I should proceed with caution and put the whole thing in my mouth. YOWZA!!! The exploding pepperiness was not unlike wasabi and it actually hurt. No concerns about this batch being over the hill at all. This tastes like artichoke, horseradish, green peppercorns, and cut grass. It has an amazingly long finish that just lasts and lasts with a fiery bite.

    Before the dinner I did a little taste comparison of the Vertrice against the Sagra EVOO I'd used for cooking the ribollita in the dish. The Sagra was pleasant adding a buttery richness but didn't change the flavor much. The Vertrice added definition and accentuated the individual flavors --- cavalo nero, carrot, leeks --- pulling them out of the cooked together potage to speak individually. It also made the dish seem greener and more vegetal in flavor than without added oil.

    At dinner time one of my friends pulled out a Sardinian EVOO called Cuore di Sardo (not sure about the spelling) to try. This had a nice peppery bite too with riper, heavier olive flavor and was popular too. I especially liked this one with bread alone.

    The friend who prepared the insalata mista used his last bit of nuovo olio of the last harvest from Rare Wine Co. to make the dressing. Unfiltered, it made a bold statement with a riper, less grassy character. He has been buying RWC's oils for quite a while and said that the Vertrice evolves very slowly.