Only fresh and healthy olives of the Cornicabra variety that have attained optimum maturity are used to produce Montes de Toledo PDO olive oil, characterised by its dense mouth feel, fruitiness and an aromatic flavour as well as medium to intense bitterness and pungency.
The colour of Montes de Toledo PDO varies from golden yellow to intense green, depending on the time of the harvest and the location where it was made.
Montes de Toledo PDO refers to extra-virgin olive oil produced in a delimited area located around the Montes de Toledo mountain range in Spain.
Olive growing, introduced into this area by Phoenician and Greek colonists, developed considerably during the Roman period. From the time of the Arab occupation to the 18th century, olives were harvested mainly for local use.
Since the 18th century, the sector has expanded greatly. The Cornicabra variety of olive grown on the Olea Europea L. olive tree has since stood the test of time, and is nowadays the single variety used to obtain Montes de Toledo PDO oil, which was awarded the European protected designation of origin in 2000.
It is no coincidence that Cornicabra olives are found in the Montes de Toledo hills. The soil and the climate in this area, as well as the work of numerous generations of olive growers have led to the natural selection of the Cornicabra variety, the best adapted to the area, and the only one authorised in the production of Montes de Toledo PDO olive oil.
The formation of soils that are generally not very fertile has left its mark on the crop, which is under continuous stress. The result is a fruit that by the process of adapting to the natural conditions has developed its own differentiating aroma expressed later in the extracted olive oil. In the case of Montes de Toledo PDO olive oil, this is translated into a very dense mouth feel, fruitiness and an aromatic flavour as well as medium to intense bitterness and pungency.
No fewer than 128 municipalities located in the south-west of the Province of Toledo and the north-west of the Province of Ciudad Real represent the sole home to the groves providing the raw material for Montes de Toledo PDO and where the oil is produced and packaged into bottles. The colour of Montes de Toledo PDO varies, depending on the time of the harvest and the location where it was made, from golden yellow to intense green.
The secret to quality extra-virgin Montes de Toledo PDO olive oil obtained from the Cornicabra variety, is the great care taken to handle the fruit throughout the production stages, to avoid the deterioration of the oil, and preserve its taste, aroma and characteristics.
This starts at the groves, where only olives picked from the tree will be used to produce Montes de Toledo PDO. Transported loose in trailers or in rigid containers, the journey to the mill cannot be rushed in order to make sure olives are not crushed. Additionally, the fruit must be delivered to the mill within 24 hours of harvesting.
Once at the mill, a strict sorting system is implemented to guarantee tree- and ground-harvested olives and those of varieties other than the sole Cornicabra variety, are processed separately, minimising damage to the olives, which cannot be stored.
The next stage consists in the mixing. The maximum duration for the process must not exceed 60 minutes and only one mixing cycle is permitted. During this phase, the temperature must not exceed 30 °C and the temperature of the oil and water mix in the centrifuge must be less than 35 °C. Oil mills also ensure that the oils produced meet the required physical and chemical standard through adequate testing.
The oil extracted is then stored in settling tanks, preferably indoors, and otherwise protected against changes of temperature and light. Stainless-steel tanks or containers lined with epoxy resin or glass fibre are also opaque. It is crucial to maintain the temperature of the oil below 25 °C.
Finally, the oil is transferred into glass bottles, coated metal, PET or vitrified ceramic containers, after having undergone further controls. The logo of the designation and the words ‘Denominación de Origen Protegida Montes de Toledo’ or ‘DOP Montes de Toledo’ must appear on all labels, accompanied by a seal of warranty including a numbered secondary label issued by the inspection body and bearing the logo of the designation of origin.
The obtained Montes de Toledo PDO olive oil has medium to intense values for its sought-after fruitiness, bitterness and spiciness.