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Olive oil tasting tours offered daily during January and February in Sonoma

18 Jan 2014 9:35 PM
Olive oil tasting tours offered daily during January and February in Sonoma

California may be best known for the grapes it produces, which are subsequently turned into a myriad of fine wines. However, another cash crop for the Golden State is olives. It may be a little known fact to individuals who aren't familiar with the western region, but many of the most exclusive wineries also take great pride in the olive oil they make from the picturesque trees found throughout the vineyard.

And, in Sonoma - one of the areas that is highly regarded for both its wine and olive oil - regular tastings are held for individuals looking to expand their palates and knowledge of the Mediterranean fruits. If you currently reside in the area, or are planning an extended tour this month or during February, scheduling a visit to one of the following establishments could provide you, your friends and your family members with an experience they won't soon forget. 

B.R. Cohn Winery & Olive Oil Company
Nestled in the heart of wine country on Sonoma Highway, this company has made a name for itself by providing local oenophiles with some of the finest blends and offering a variety of olive oils crafted from the spoils of the Picholine olive trees that pepper its expansive vineyard. Every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the end of February, individuals interested in tasting either of these products are invited to visit the winery and discuss the subtleties that differentiate certain varieties.

Guests to the location can enjoy sampling the coveted B.R. Cohn's Sonoma Estate Picholine Extra Virgin Olive Oil - which is considered one of the best statewide - as well as certified extra virgin olive oils such as the Unfiltered, Organic, Tuscan blend and California blend. Presented in sophisticated Italian glass bottles, these make for upscale gifts and add a unique zest when used in pasta, fish and vegetable dishes, as well as in soups and salads.

Ledson Winery & Marketplace
Although the high-end accommodations and fine wines offered at this grandiose family winery off of Sonoma Highway are surely enough to attract hordes of visitors, this upscale business also regularly provides guests the opportunity to sample stone pressed olive oil. During January and February, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. people can enjoy exploring the opulent 16,000 square foot French Normandy winery commonly referred to as "The Castle," for its spectacular architecture and ambiance, and tasting the different oils produced there.

The winery's Paradiso olive oil is reportedly created using a Tuscan blend of Frantoio, Leccino, Moraiolo and Pendolino olives that are grown at an elevation of 2,000 feet in the volcanic soils of the Mayacamas Mountain Range. Each olive is hand picked and stone pressed at the height of its ripeness, ensuring the quality of extra virgin olive oil produced is second to none. While the Paradiso olive oil is arguably the most popular, Ledson also makes other oils with notes of basil, rosemary, blood oranges, Meyer lemons and even Persian limes.

Figone's California Olive Oil Co.
While this venue is different from the others because it does not produce any wine, its laser focus on olive oil has yielded numerous lines of high-end varietals, each boasting a bright, grassy flavor and smooth finish. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through the winter season, visitors will be treated to live exhibitions of the entire milling process, as well as samples of the extensive collection of aged balsamic vinegars and olive oils. Originally an asparagus farm, over the last 100 years the 65-acres of land located off of Sonoma Highway has been transformed into a respected olive tree orchard, producing some of the finest oils in the state.