HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


"Vintage" 2008 Olive oil served in 2012--question for the Italian "experts" (??) [moved from Italy]

A recent review on the Manhattan board (of Manzo, in Eataly) mentions a 2008 olive oil described as "vintage," offered for "dipping." I was quite surprised to read of this and could discover no references that contradict what I had been lead to believe: That an olive oll so old would have deteriorated long past the point of deliciousness.

Comments, please! I am aquiver with curiosity on this topic.

Thread that sparked this question:


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. good way to use overage upscale olive oil, I guess! suppose if it was kept in cold storage it would last. I alwayskick myself when I find a good olive oil in the back of my cabinet., feel like I wasted the premium price.

    all that being said, I am waiting to be surprised by a different answer

    2 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Don't know if you consider Pliny an expert, but he wrote:

      "It is not with olive oil as it is with wine, for by age it acquires a bad flavor, and at the end of a year it is already old.”

      But then, he never went to Eataly.

      1. re: barberinibee

        Olive oil that has a "date" in that this is an oil from a "vintage" year is just another marketing ploy. Not one person in one hundred thousand could tell you the vintage. It is all hype. Olive oil that is more than a year old becomes rancid. Any restaurateur, in their heart of hearts, will tell you that. It is just like wine... get Parker or other experts to taste wine, cover up the labels, and they will not even be able to tell you exactly where the wine was from. I've done this with "experts" and they've been ashamed of what they've said about the wine.

        Buy olive oil that you like i.e. like the taste. Use it within a year. Don't pay attention to the rest of the nonsense.

    2. Sorry, even if he kept it properly, I just can't believe it tasted good. May be it was not rancid, but all the fruity/herby tones must have disappeared after such a long time from harvest. Fresh is best, oil is not wine!

      1. Yes olive oil has a vintage. But it is good only for about 18 months max. Anything older than that is not good anymore.

        1. @erica,

          My post was in response to yours, and I believe allende's was as well, despite the "re:" indications.

          1 Reply
          1. re: barberinibee

            Exactly what I thought! And the OP mentioned that he had equally old oil at another restaurant as well.....(see linked thread above). EVen if kept cold, the flavor certainly was not going to improve with that much age!

          2. How on earth can they get away with that? It's crazy!

            10 Replies
            1. re: ambra

              Ambra, how on earth can they get away with that? Easy, if you're Batali. He is worshipped and whatever he says becomes the norm for certain foodies, particularly in New York, whether they know anything or not. It's a shame because Mario and Joe know better.

              Notice that the writer is focussed on "the vintage", i.e. it must be special if it is vintage. No thought about which part of Italy (I hope it's Italy) it came from, if it's dark or not, peppery or not, Ligurian or Tuscan... nothing, just that it was of the 2008 vintage. It's all about marketing.

              I will say in Bastianich's favor, we recently had a 2010 Bastianich Tocai (or maybe it was already called Friulano... stupid EU rules) and it was very good. It will barely make it for four years, and that olive oil at Manzo was over the hill or someone's leg was being pulled about it being from 2008.

              I should add that the wine will not travel well because of the shipping. We had a bottle in The States (not the 2010) and it was mediocre. That's not surprising because in general (including with some great wines i.e. Barolo, Gaja's wines, some sangiovese) the shipment to the U.S. is, with a few notable importer exceptions, not conducive to wine maintaining the state that it was in in Italy.

              1. re: allende

                Funny you mention that, my husband and I have done side by side comparisons of the same wine- one bought in the states, one in Italy and noticed a significant difference.

                As for Batali, yea. Sad isn't it. I have a friend in the US who keeps telling me how lucky I am to have "Wild ramps" here, when I've never seen them here. Apparently, Batali talks about Italians that forage for them. In the meantime, I've read they don't even grow here.

                I know its OT, but has anyone here ever seen them? Wouldn't mind being wrong! ;)

                1. re: ambra

                  He might be confusing It with allium ursinum, which we do have here, and forage, and use. Allium tricoccum, widely called ramp, exists only in north america.

                  1. re: vinoroma

                    I knew it!! Hhahaha.

                    What is allium ursinum in Italian?

                    1. re: vinoroma

                      I've never seen them here either and I do miss them as I miss shad, shad roe and soft shells (there are versions of the latter, but different from The States) in the spring.

                      On the other hand in the spring here... fantastic agretti which is unknown in The States, incomparable field greens, local peas which we've been having here for the past several weeks, wonderful strawberries from Basilicata (with local ones in the next week or two) and in general the exquisite cicoria, bietola and other greens that we get on a daily basis.

                      Oh, and did I mention that the vegetables taste like real vegetables. When our friends come here and taste the vegetables, they simply can't believe the flavor and then look upon their greenmarkets, even though fresh, with much distain.

                      Oh, and did I mention that the little contadina at the local farmer's market who picked the vegetables that morning, adds something to the flavor :)

                      1. re: allende

                        One last question. Why do places like Manzo attempt to do things which border on providing something which might be bad? Shouldn't a restaurant seek to avoid anything that is "close to the line" in terms of freshness.

                        1. re: allende

                          Don't forget the artichokes and the fave. :)

                          1. re: ambra

                            I forgot to mention them, but they're dear to my heart. Notice that they took this thread off the Italy board. Sometimes this site just doesn't get it.

                            1. re: allende

                              I'm wondering about the claim that the oils would be the same biochemically even after several years. But does being the same biochemically mean that the taste is the same? Sorry that the OP of that thread took offense, but the topic is interesting. To me, at least!

                              Can it be possible that they (Eataly) and the couple of online purveyors I've found that are offering olive oils from so many years ago, are merely trying to offload outdated stock? Am I naive to be surprised?

                              1. re: erica

                                Biochemically... I have no idea. From a taste standpoint I can unequivocally tell you that the taste of every olive oil I've ever tasted here in Tuscany, is not the same, after 12, perhaps 18 months at the very outside, as it was when it was freshly pressed. Everyone here knows that.

                                Are they trying to offload; don't know but wouldn't be surprised. Yes, you are naive :) Restaurants are notorious for trying to offload remains and are notorious for buying "damaged" goods. For example, where do you think the fish goes when it's been in a fish store for close to its maximum life? It goes to a restaurant so that the fish vendor can try to recoup cost. That's a sad fact. Clearly that only happens with certain restaurants, but it happens. That's why on the Italy board I laugh every time I read about "this great fish restaurant" where the whole meal cost 20 Euros. If these people would only know what they are receiving in terms of lack of fresh fish.

              2. to echo what others have said here, if this is an accurate story, it is a cheap marketing ploy and, like so many things at the Eataly complex, plays on the ignorance of consumers about Italian gastronomic culture. even if kept in a dark place and in ideal humidity/temp conditions, the olive oil will deteriorate through oxidation, its acidity levels will decline, its color will darken, and its aromas will dull. eventually it will become rancid. even the finest olive oils I have encountered here in Italy are to be consumed within 12-18 months, ideally within the first 6.


                8 Replies
                1. re: katieparla

                  Now Katie, you know what you said is not true:)

                  Eataly not only has the special sauce, but the special oil. This oil is special special with olive trees (at least we hope they're olive trees) that have been bred to produce oil that lasts for years and years, with no rancidness, no darkening, continued good acidic levels, As I said, it's really special special and only Mario's place has it. And the American public (particularly the "foodies") and the American press buys into it (and buys it).

                  As you said, what a cheap marketing ploy, but don't tell that to the Eataly believers.

                  1. re: allende

                    Eataly has the monopoly on the vintage oil as far as restaurants go, but remember that I have spotted old oils (although not so antique) oils on the shelves of a few other "gourmet" markets here in NYC. And they were not even being promoted as "vintage!" I think I can make a sweep and corner the market. Maybe start my own niche business! Take a look at this one: 6 years old and still "nuovo!"


                    1. re: erica

                      Old oil, having no freshness for only $46. Wow. What a bargain.

                      Joel Dean must be turning over in his grave.

                      1. re: erica

                        this is a common experience in so called gourmet stores. Look through that wall of boutique oils and you will see dates like 2007 and 2008 frequently. Its appalling but i guess these oils are a big prestige investment and they cant bear to throw them out.

                    2. re: katieparla

                      As an ignorant American consumer can you enlighten me as to some of the other many things within the Eataly complex which have been planted to deceive me? I'm not particularly a fan of the place, but it hardly seems to me an evil attempt to dump past their prime Italian foodstuffs on an unsuspecting gullible populace. Must get back to reading the live blog accounts of Babbo's first lunch service!

                      1. re: Alan Henderson

                        I actually like the place for some things. The breads are fine as is the selection of meat. The dried pasta selection is excellent (no vintages). The salumi for me is the best in New York, a far cry from here in Italy, but very good. Fish counter is poor. The pretense and arrogance of the "baristas" is appalling, which could be excused if they truly knew their job, but if you ask for a ristretto and at first they look blank and then they give you what they think is a regular espresso in Italy (not a ristretto), that is not good. The pastry is mediocre, more French oriented than Italian. The menu of the restaurants is unappealing. The semi attached wine store is a disaster and Joe Bastianich knows better, much better. And, of course, there is the vintage olive oil problem.

                        I still have fond memories of Joe's mother's old restaurant in Queens, Buona Via, which she had in the late 70s and early 80s before moving to Manhattan to open Felidia. That was Italian cooking at its most honest. I can still taste some of her dishes, particularly the fish and seafood sauce that she ladled over fresh pasta.

                        1. re: allende

                          Agree on the pastry. I am not too impressed with the few of the breads but ahve only sampled a few varieties. (Do you remember the brouhaha created when the bread person admitted to "sneaking" the mother past US customs?)

                          If you want to plow through this thread, see link below, you might find a few ideas on what to buy, and what not to buy. Their best "deal" is the gigantic "Spanish" onions for $.50 per pound but I don't suppose many people are going to travel there to buy onions. For those hard to peel vegetables and fruits (well, the only two of those I can think of right now are Kabocha squash
                          and celery root), they have a "vegetable butcher, who will do the carving for you.


                          They have a fairly large book department, with quite a few Italian titles, but they do not carry the SlowFood Osterie guide, much to my dismay.

                          1. re: erica

                            its odd because I believe they have some Slowfood Editore books. But no Italian language good guides to Italy (no Gambero rosso, either)
                            as far as the bread goes, I get a kick out of buying the day old for half price; some , ike the pugliese, are very good.. and I agree, the charcuterie looked good yesterday. But for us the place rates very low as a shopping destination - I want to get out of there asap due to the crowds.