Founded in 1958, Frantoio Franci is set in Montenero d’Orcia, a small hilltop town on the slopes of the Amiata Mountains, overlooking the splendid valley of the River Orcia. In that year the brothers Franco and Fernando Franci purchased the famous Villa Magra olive grove proceeding to transform the old barn into an oil-mill. The year 1995 marks a turning-point in the history of the family firm; it sees the beginning of the precious collaboration between Fernando, with his lifetime of experience, and his son Giorgio, who was to bring a new lease of energy and his modern business skills.
Their main priority was to establish a place for their oil on the international market. However, it was clear from the outset that the direct sale of their oil would neither fulfil this ambition nor guarantee their oil-mill the future they hoped for.
They soon realised that they were in a difficult position: “We were virtually unknown. Our size and structure did not allow us to be competitive with the big producers. Furthermore our skills in producing great oils, was not matched by our commercial ability. It was then that we decided to make quality our goal; a challenging prospect, but a challenge which we eagerly embraced as the only way forward; true, genuine quality, absolute with no compromise.”
Our Special Selection
From this philosophy emerged our first extra virgin olive oil, Villa Magra dei Franci, was released onto the market in 1996. It was produced only and exclusively with the olives from the Villa Magra olive grove. The idea of absolute quality was developed and accompanied by the concepts of selection, interpretation and terroir, and Villa Magra, our intense fruit flavour, became the firm’s flagship, proceeding to generate eight further labels.
1997 saw the first production of Olivastra Seggianese, our light fruit flavour, using a single variety from the centuries’ old olive trees on Mount Amiata. Then, in 1999, Le Trebbiane followed, a medium fruit extra virgin that was immediately awarded the first of our three Leone d’Oro prizes, the top award at most prestigious international olive oil competition.
Villa Magra Gran Cru
As a natural evolution of the new philosophy, new objectives were developed, and the concept of ‘Cru’ emerged. In 2000 Villa Magra Gran Cru was born, the best of the olives from the Chiusello grove, a micro-area where terrain and vegetation have very special features.
This extra virgin is the result of a series of extremely careful selections. It is singled out for its elegance, smoothness and aroma, together with its exceptional chemical spectrum: more than 540 mg/kg of polyphenoils (expressed in caffeic acid) guarantee an outstanding antioxidant content. Villa Magra Gran Cru is produced only in the best years and every single bottle is numbered up to a maximum of 2.100 liters.
Our Standard Oil Selection
Over the years, in order to diversify production and meet the company’s financial and organisational needs, other kinds of oil have been added. Fiore del Frantoio, ideal for everyday use in the kitchen, combines the features of a genuinely good oil with an affordable price. La Cinciallegra is our organic oil Frantoio Franci has classic tuscan characteristics and is an excellent quality-price choice, and Frantoio Franci IGP has certified origin.
Our Production Philosophy
All our Frantoio Franci olive oils are labelled according to strict criteria of origin and quality standards defined by organoleptic characteristics and chemical parameters. Only in this way can we guarantee our consumers ongoing quality year after year. Oils which do not satisfy the pre-determined criteria are downgraded. The seasonal variables which determine the quality of our crop are a constant and stimulating challenge. These variables can affect the quantity of the finished product but not their overall quality. The year of production has the power to determine that subtle and fascinating margin which separates a good bottle from an outstanding product.
A Unique Event
In June 2003 Villa Magra Gran Cru wins the international oil tasting prize awarded to the best extra virgin olive oils in the world, organised by the Grand Jury Européen in the Château Branire. Following this event, in October 2003, the jury’s President, Françoise Mauss, proposed and went on to organise an exchange: 100 bottles of “Villa Magra Gran Cru” with 100 bottles of great Bordeaux wines, such as Latour, Lafite, Petrus, Cheval Blanc, and others.
Frantoio Franci is the only Olive Oil producer in the world to have won the “Leone d’Oro” prize 3 times, awarded by the “Maestri Oleari”, the most prestigious international olive oil competition. 5 times it has been awarded the coverted “Ercole Olivario” prize. In 2009 it won the 1st prize at “Sol d’Oro” international competition; thus triumphing at all the world’s most important & critically acclaimed competitions.
In 2003, 2004 and 2005 (last year of the Guide) it was also awarded the prize for “Best Tuscan Oil-Mill” from the Guide “C’è Olio e…Olio in Toscana”.
The Bibenda guide gave to Frantoio Franci the top mark, Five Drops, in 2008 and 2009.
The Slow Food Guide awarded Frantoio Franci top marks -Th ree Olives - in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The Selection of the World’s Best Olive Oils, organised by Der Feinschmecker awarded the firm 2nd prize in 2005, 1st prize in 2006 and 2nd prize in 2007. The Merum magazine has enlisted the Frantoio Franci in the special Merum-Degubox Oils Selection in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The Guide to the “World Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils” edited by Marco Oreggia, (titled “L’Extravergine” until 2009, and “Flos Olei” from 2010), named Frantoio Franci as “Best Extraction Method” in 2009, “Best Olive Oil of the Year” in 2002 and 2005, “Best Producer of the Year” in 2003, 2008 and in 2010, and “Best Blended Oil – Intense Fruity” in 2011 and 2012. Th is was from a world-wide selection, of more than 3.000 oils from 34 participating countries.