Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is Olive Oil the Next Hot Trend for Fashion Houses?

Would you buy an haute olive oil from the Armani Olio Collezioni or from the affordably-priced Armani's Prêt-à-Manger line? Perhaps a private-label olive oil is not so far-fetched considering the ex-fashion executives now making and selling olive oil.

After serving as former managing director and right-hand of Armani, Giuseppe "Pino" Brusone went on to head Donna Karan International under the LVMH umbrella. Having now given up his career running fashion houses, Brusone runs the La Porrona olive oil company based in Tuscany. According to the Rare Wine Co's olive oil newsletter, Brusone "found a magical 70 acres, with century-old olive groves" in the village of Montisi. "Pino's trees are hand-harvested and the oil is hand-bottled. In fact, each year, he only makes about 50 cases." Currently going for $24.95 per 500ml, the organic 2010 La Porrona EVOO is reported by Rare Wine Co. to have a
  • rich and minty nose "with evocative scents of roasted almond and chlorophyll"
  • green/gold color
  • long and fresh finish, with moderate pepperiness
  • Maria with her toy poodle, Gioia
    Photo by Drew Altizer
  • and a palate starting with sweet olives, which moves to artichoke and butter.
Brusone is not alone. San Francisco's Maria Manetti Farrow, a Tuscan native, founded olive oil company Villa Mille Rose in Oakville, Napa Valley. Prior to gourmet olive oil, Manetti Farrow was buyer and director of the Gucci franchise. Later, Aldo Gucci offered her the role of distributing and marketing Gucci's small accessories throughout North America. She went on to do the same for Fendi leather goods and Mark Cross.

Now Maria Manetti Farrow's organic EVOO olive oil has won the gold medal ten years in a row at the Los Angeles County Fair. It is produced from 350 "pampered Tuscan varietal trees," according to the marketing literature, and is "sophisticated and elegant with a soft, round, delicate bouquet of rich fruitiness, extremely low acidity, and a light peppery finish." Currently, 375ml is running $28.00.

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