6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Cheshire Life today CLICK HERE

Crewe wine merchant invests in Greek olive oil

15:06 13 February 2012

Rodney and Margie Densem and some of their Eleonas Estate Olive Oil

Rodney and Margie Densem and some of their Eleonas Estate Olive Oil

A Crewe-based wine merchant is investing in 'liquid gold' - made from the produce of the family's own olive groves in Greece WORDS BY RAY KING<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS

Leading wine merchant Rodney Densem Wines has won many accolades for its extensive and varied list since Rodney and his wife Margie set up the business in 1972 after selling their Cheshire country house hotel.

The firms many customers, be they in the hotel and restaurant trade, running pubs or private clients, have more than 1,000 different wines and spirits to choose from, produced in countries all around the world. Very few of them or visitors to RDWs Nantwich retail shop for that matter - ask for Greek wine.

They do, however, enthuse over Rodney Densems Greek olive oil. So does he for what Homer called liquid gold in ancient Greece, is very much a family affair. And the story of how Eleonas Extra Virgin Olive Oil ended up in Cheshire is a charming tale.

Rodney, now chairman of Rodney Densem Wines, said: My son Simon, now in his late 30s, was an international analyst for the investment bank UBS in Switzerland but one day decided to take some time out and search for a more satisfying lifestyle. Having toured all around Europe, he ended up in Greece and bought a piece of land in the hills just outside Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese, an area reputed to produce the best olive oil in Greece, which in turn is rated best in the world.

He managed to get permission for four houses on the land, built two and gave us one of them. So there we were with two houses in the hills amid 500 olive trees. So he decided to produce olive oil.

Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean for thousands of years: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power. Indeed the importance of the olive industry in ancient economies cannot be overstated. The tree is extremely hardy and its useful lifespan can be measured in centuries. Its wide and deep root system ensures its survival without additional watering, even in the water-sparse Mediterranean.

Our trees werent in the best condition, but they have been pruned into the ideal wine goblet shape and over the past four or five years have yielded enough olives for Simon to produce 1,000 1,500 litres of high quality extra virgin olive oil a year, added Rodney, who is a frequent visitor to the estate, not far from the ancient Messini, established in 371BC after the rule of Sparta over the area was broken.

Its not really a commercial operation, said Rodney, but its traditional and immensely satisfying. A few local people come along to harvest the olives and there are many presses in the area.

The Densems Eleonas brand the name simply means olive grove - is a classic and well-structured oil, with a fresh grassy aroma, strong tannin, offering hints of pepper, spice and fruit flavours and a pungent clean finish. Produced from 100 per cent Koroneiki olives, regarded as the finest, it is quintessentially Greek in both flavour and character

The extra virgin quality rating depends on oil having low acidity. To qualify it must contain no more than 0.8 per cent acidity; Eleonas contains just 0.3 per cent. The high quality commands a premium price - 7.95 for 500ml but Eleonas has won high praise, not least being endorsed as exceptional by Patrick Gilbaud whose eponymous restaurant in Dublin has two Michelin stars. It is primarily used as a luxury dressing for salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.



The print version of this article appeared in the February 2012 issue of Cheshire Life

We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here

0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Burgers have become more upmarket in recent years

If your looking forward to a barbeque this summer, but don’t want the hassle of organising your own, there are plenty of American style eateries in the region you could try, here’s a few that we found.

Read more
Monday, June 29, 2015
Enjoy 1/2  dozen oyster and champagne

Enjoy six oysters and a glass of champagne for only £16.45

Read more
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Manchester Macdonald Hotel and Spa

Its exterior looks like a huge office but once inside the Macdonald Hotel Manchester, it’s a bit of a treat

Read more
Friday, June 26, 2015
Put some sparkle into your week with a complimentry bottle of Prosecco when you dine at Tom's.

Enjoy a complimentary bottle of Prosecco with a meal for two.

Read more
Friday, June 26, 2015
During July Tom at 101 is offering a luxury Afternoon Tea with champagne for £15.95 per person

Enjoy a luxury afternoon tea with a free glass of champagne for £15.95

Read more
Friday, June 26, 2015
Award-winning bar tenders Steve and Paul

Extend the weekend feeling by enjoying two award-winning cocktails for the price of one every Sunday evening

Read more
Friday, June 19, 2015
Earle restaurant, Hale

Digest this mini-review in 60 seconds

Read more
Friday, June 19, 2015
Beetroot, walnuts, goats curd cheese and  watercress

Janet Reeder spends a sunny afternoon exploring the menu at the Lord Clyde in Kerridge

Read more
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Monday cocktail offer at Ziya Asian Grill

Every Monday enjoy two for one cocktails

Read more
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Matt Normansell of Eden Wild Food

Most of us would focus on the views across the Dee Estuary but foraging guide Matt Normansell has good reason to keep his gaze downward, writes Martin Pilkington

Read more
Friday, June 12, 2015
Cheshire ice cream farm

Take a look at our guide to the best ice cream cafe’s, parlours and farm shops in Cheshire.

Read more
Thursday, June 11, 2015
The Hotel Gotham, Manchester - photo Mark Leeming

The region is a hotel hotspot this summer so you don’t have to travel far for a stylish stay

Read more
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Foodies Festival

Join Foodies Festival at Tatton Park this summer 17,18,19th July as they celebrate their 10th anniversary with a feast of top chefs, artisan produce, new food and drink masterclasses and more street food than you can shake a satay stick at!

Read more
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Enjoy a Sunday roast just the way you like it at Tom at 101 Restaurant Bar and Grill

Enjoy a Sunday roast just the way you like it at Tom at 101 Restaurant Bar and Grill

Read more

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP




Food and Drink Directory

Cheshire's trusted business finder