The best olive oil is Argentine and is produced by a historic factory

02 Aug 2022

It comes from an olive farm with more than 130 years. For the first time, it leads the ranking above exponents from Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Turkey.

In Cruz de Piedra, Maipú, half an hour from the city of Mendoza, there is a winery that records several milestones in its history, and not related to wine, but to olive oil. The most recent is from 2021, when it was ranked number one in the world, according to the EVOO World Ranking, which annually chooses the 100 best olive growers in the world. It was the first time in history that a brand outside of Europe came to the top of this prestigious list: in 2020 they had already reached position no. 3 and in 2019, 4th. This is Olivícola Laur, the first Argentine olive oil factory dating from 1889. With its centuries-old olive trees, it welcomes you to the old town where its oils have been made for more than 130 years and which today is part museum and a modern wing , where tastings are made.

“Before there were olive oil factories, but they functioned in the form of colonies: a flour mill was set up that was used for oil, corn, wheat, and each neighbor brought their raw material and distributed it to the colony. Laur was the first factory that began to commercialize with a national distribution. In 1900, which was the golden age of the Argentine railways, it was very easy to reach different parts of the country, so olive oil was dispatched from there to everywhere”, explains its winemaker, Gabriel Guardia.

Laur was born as the business of a French family, started by Francois Laur, a legacy that was later continued by his widow and son, until 1940. Then the company passed through different hands, until in 2010 it was bought by the current owners, the Millán family, They also own Acetaia Millán, which is within the same property and is the first and only balsamic vinegar winery made in the traditional Modena style, in South America.

But how does an Argentine olive grower become number one in the world? Guardia responds: “There is a non-profit Spanish institution made up of different specialists from around the world, and there are some 30 contests endorsed by the world ranking, where blind tasting panels evaluate the oils. We introduce ourselves and send our olive oil to Jerusalem, Los Angeles, New York, London, China, Japan, Canada… In each one, we add points, and at the end of the year, the world ranking requests the report and adds points. Every year, around 750 factories from around the world present themselves, from there the ranking of the best 100 is put together. In 2019 we came fourth, in 2020, third, and in 2021, first place in the world,” he says proudly.