I was at a Chianti Classico tasting in NYC when I ran into Michael Schaefer, a fellow wine writer. I have known Michael for some time and first met him in Udine where we spent time together as judges at a Pinot Grigio event. I told him I was going to Rome in a few days and he suggested I meet a friend of his in Rome, Marina Colonna. Marina is an olive oil producer in Molise and I told him that Michele and I would be interested to meet her.
We contacted Marina when we arrived in Rome and she invited us over an aperitif. Her apartment was only a few minutes from where we were staying.
Marina was very charming and offered us a tasting of several of the olives that she produces.
Next we had assorted crostini topped with the olive pastes and preserved tomatoes that she also produces. They were all good, the kind of thing that are a pleasure to have on hand for a quick meal or snacks.
Prosecco Numero Primo Brut made from 100% Glera Francesca Dorigo. It has hints of citrus fruit, pear and green apples with a note of wisteria. This was a light and fresh accompaniment to the appetizers.
Marina told us that the Colonna family is a very old noble family that traces its roots back to 1195. They continued to play a large part in the ecclesiastical, cultural, political, military and civic life of Rome over the centuries. Her Estate, Masseria Bosco Pontoni, is near San Martino in Pensilis, Molise and the roots of the property go back to the 1800’s.
The estate is 160 hectares of which 55 are covered with olive groves. 16 different olive varieties are grown, including the typical regional ones that produce the DPO Molise olive oil.
Marina inherited the farm in 1996 from her father, Francesco Colonna, and Marina’s Colonna’s extra virgin olive oil was born.
Molensis XXV – Limited Edition Extra Vigin Olive Oil
Marina explained that this extra virgin olive oil was a limited addition to celebrate her 25 years of commitment to her estate in Molise and Molensis is the Latin word to define the region. It is a blend of the 3 best varieties from the Colonna groves. Marina said the bouquet is herbaceous with a note of vegetables, green tomatoes and artichoke. On the palate it is pleasant, medium fruity with hints of unripe almonds and a grassy aftertaste with balanced bitter and pungent notes which make it an ideal and versatile olive oil. It is bottled in the patented Amphora bottle. At $39 it is her most expensive olive oil but worth the money. It is one of the best and most complex olive oils I have ever tasted. We are enjoying it as a finishing oil on pasta and vegetable dishes, or simply drizzled on toasted bread.
All of the Marina Colonna products are available at William Sonoma and are worth seeking out.