A strong link with the past, combined with professional competence, incessant commitment, and passion, is at the roots of the success of Marina Colonna. This company, which belongs to the family who has owned it for two centuries, is at San Martino in Pensilis, in Masseria Bosco Pontoni, in the province of Campobasso.
The olive grove, with approximately 18,000 trees and different cultivars, covers 55 hectares cultivated with traditional trees in pots, as well as more recent trees belonging to precious varieties, which are included in the DOP specifications ‘Molise’ (Gentile di Larino, Leccino, and such other important varieties as Peranzana, Ascolana, Frantoio, Coratina, Itrana, Nocellara del Belice, and Cima di Melfi).
The trial of intensive mechanized olive groves, experimental varieties, the use of techniques with low environmental impact, the semi-manual gathering carried out early by hand and by means of pneumatic combs, in order to shorten both time of gathering and oil extraction with cold continuous cycle, in the oil mill of the company within 12 hours, guarantee to obtain valuable oils, characterized by high quality standards. All this happens «in accordance with the well-being of our trees and aiming at an always better production - as Marina Colonna says. Our mission consists in a primary focus on our land and its trees, taking care to feed our plants with organic elements, such as compost produced in our farm, using the olive residues we produce alongside with olive leaves, straw, and other organic waste».
The extra-virgin olive oils
Marina Colonna is characterized by distinctive processing methods combined with the experience acquired by the technicians who select the annual mixture, as well as innovative systems adopted in the oil mill, but with the bottling stage which is still semi-manual. This factor denotes the peculiarity of this production, because the amphora, the bottle which distinguishes this oil, is characterized by an oval shape and, therefore, the packaging stage could be hardly mechanized. The amphora, with patented design, has been designed by Marina Colonna herself in the late 80s. It is inspired by an Etruscan glass from the family collection and it has made the brand Colonna recognizable and immediately identifiable, both in Italy and abroad: Europe, USA, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Canada, Chile, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and South Africa.
As for the various oils, four types of extra virgin olive oil are currently bottled:
- Miscela Colonna, a fruity oil resulting from a wise harmony among the sensorial characteristics expressed by the different cultivars, among which we remind Frantoio, Peranzana, and Leccino, characterized by a delicate balance between bitter and spicy flavour, medium yellow-green fruity colour, persisting tastes of ripe tomato and green artichoke;
- Colonna Molise DOP, the ‘grand cru’ by Marina Colonna. This oil is composed of Leccino and Gentile di Larino. It is characterized by a golden yellow colour with green reflections; its scent has definite hints of celery, artichoke, and lettuce, enriched by balmy notes of basil, mint, and sage. Its taste is fine, with hints of spice and almond aftertaste;
- Monovarietale Peranzana, a decidedly fragrant variety, suited to consumers who appreciate a structured, but not aggressive oil: it is an extra virgin olive oil produced by the cultivar Peranzana. It is a noble example of the best Molise olive-growing, which envelops consumers’ senses with discretion. In it, complexity and delicacy merge. Its scent is clearly fruity, characteristic of olives, with notes of herbs and flowers, green tomatoes, grass, and freshly mown wheat. Its taste is sweet and fruity, with balanced bitter notes associated with a slightly spicy aftertaste, and a slight feeling of almond and artichoke and cardoon. It is suitable for simple dishes: gilthead in salt or ‘all’acquapazza’ (simmered in water flavoured with garlic, olive oil, parsley and a little bit of tomato)’, but the gastronomic experiments continue;
- Selezione extra vergine Biologico, produced from certified organic agriculture. Its colour is yellow with green hues. Its scent shows a hint of fresh herbs and olive, while its taste is fruity and aromatic, with perceivable hints of grass and sweet almond, and a perfect balance between sour and spicy flavour.
All varieties of olives are grown, harvested, and milled separately - the gathering period usually begins in early October - in possession of the organic certification for extra-virgin olive oil and ‘Granverde’, JAS for the sale of organic products in Japan, UNI EN ISO 22005: 2008 for ‘Peranzana’.
Table olives, tomato preserves, and pâté
«Now I can finally market my table olives in brine, too: Itrana di Colonna, Kalamata Colonna, Bella di Colonna, crisp and sweet at the same time; MiteVerde di Colonna, characterized by a rounded shape and a firm pulp, appreciated for its mild flavour, which reminds plum, the only variety of olive which can be directly eaten from the tree; Nera di Colonna. Olives to which preserves of tomato are added: Rosso di Colonna, Pomo D'Oro, Bruschettina, and various pâtés, prepared with black olives, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, spicy tomato, semidried tomatoes.