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Document 52023XC0203(01)

Publication of an application pursuant to Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs 2023/C 41/12


OJ C 41, 3.2.2023, p. 28–32 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, GA, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)



Official Journal of the European Union

C 41/28

Publication of an application pursuant to Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

(2023/C 41/12)

This publication confers the right to oppose the application pursuant to Article 51 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (1).



EU No: PDO-ES-02786 – 16.7.2021

PDO (X) PGI ( )

1.   Name

‘Nueces de Nerpio’

2.   Member State or Third Country


3.   Description of the agricultural product or foodstuff

3.1.    Type of product

Class 1.6. Fruit, vegetables and cereals fresh or processed

3.2.    Description of product to which the name in (1) applies

Dried walnuts, presented whole in the shell, as whole kernels, half-kernels or ground, from healthy fruit with the outer husks removed, obtained from a variety of local walnut tree native to Nerpio and from other varieties (cultivars) adapted to the production area, all belonging to the species Juglans regia L.

Authorised varieties:

Main variety: The local variety, the ‘native Nerpio walnut tree’, results from seed selections by Nerpio producers since the 16th century. This has produced an ungrafted ecotype of walnut tree perfectly adapted to the valley of the River Taibilla. The groves of hundred-year old native walnut trees constitute unique landscape and plant genetic heritage in the Nerpio area. This ecotype represents at least 80 % of all the trees of this species in the production area.

Secondary varieties (cultivars): Franquette, Chandler, Pedro and Fernor, varieties cultivated in Nerpio since the 1990s, adapted to local conditions. These secondary varieties must be grafted onto the ungrafted trunks of the local variety, the ‘native Nerpio walnut tree’. This stock offers the secondary varieties greater vigour, adaptation to limestone soils and resistance to soil diseases and root suffocation. These factors help the secondary varieties to acclimatise to the production area.

Characteristics of the kernel or seed

The membrane surrounding the kernel or seed is slightly darker: beige-bronze-chestnut. This is connected with its high concentration of tannins and, as such, its greater antioxidant and organoleptic properties.

It has considerable chemical stability making it resistant to rancidity (shelf life of over a year, traditional storage conditions established for the PDO).

Slightly bitter taste and astringent sensation due to high tannin levels.

High levels of natural antioxidants, mainly tannins derived from gallic and ellagic acids. Using the evaluation method of anti-radical capacity against DPPH, expressed as Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), the antioxidant activity of Nerpio walnuts is ≥ 110 μmol Trolox/g of walnuts (± 10 %). This is far higher than for other walnuts on the market.

Product types

The walnuts can be presented:

‘Whole’ in the shell

‘Whole Kernels’ or seed

‘Halves’ or half kernels

‘Ground’ or ground kernels

The ‘Whole’ and ‘Whole Kernel’ walnuts must comply with the minimum quality requirements for the classes ‘Extra’ and ‘Class I’, as defined in the international standards concerning the marketing of Inshell Walnuts (UNECE standard DDP-01) and concerning the marketing of walnut kernels (UNECE standard DDP-02).

The minimum size of the ‘Whole’ walnuts is 28 mm. The ‘Whole Kernel’ walnuts must be larger than an 8 mm mesh.

In all classes and forms, at the time of packaging, the ‘Whole’ walnuts must have a moisture content below 7 %. For the ‘Whole Kernel’, ‘Halves’ and ‘Ground’ walnuts, the maximum moisture content is 5 %.

3.3.    Feed (for products of animal origin only) and raw materials (for processed products only)

3.4.    Specific steps in production that must take place in the identified geographical area

Growing, harvesting, drying, and preparation of the fruit must take place within the production area.

3.5.    Specific rules concerning slicing, grating, packaging, etc. of the product the registered name refers to

For walnuts presented as ‘Halves’, the size of the kernel shall be between 3 mm and 8 mm. Deviations greater than 10 %, not corresponding in weight, shall not be permitted. For ‘Ground’ walnuts, there shall be no size limit, other than below 3 mm. A maximum deviation of 10 % in weight shall be permitted.

There is a maximum limit of 25 kg for the packaging of ‘Whole’ walnuts. For the ‘Whole Kernel’, ‘Halves’ and ‘Ground’ walnuts, the maximum is 15 kg.

Storage, classification and packaging must occur in the same place, always within the production area. Repackaging is prohibited. The reasoning behind packaging at source is based on ensuring the natural environmental conditions in which the ‘Nueces de Nerpio’ are handled and preserved. There must be no draughts, the humidity must be no more than 75 %, and the temperature no higher than 20 °C. These conditions are guaranteed in Nerpio, and are essential for preserving the high tannin contents that characterise the walnuts and also slow down the process of rancidity.

3.6.    Specific rules concerning labelling of the product the registered name refers to

An indication of the designation of origin ‘Nueces de Nerpio’ and/or the logo of the PDO ‘Nueces de Nerpio’ must appear very clearly on the labels and commercial packaging used for these walnuts.

Image 1

The packaging in which the walnuts are dispatched for consumption shall bear numbered labels that cannot be re-used.

The walnuts can only be placed on the market with the branding of the registered handling and packaging plants belonging to the production area.

As part of the optional labelling, the indication ‘De nogales centenarios’ [From 100-year old walnut trees] shall be used for walnuts from trees that are over 100 years old. Additionally, for walnuts from trees with an official environmental protection listing, either national or EU-based, the indication ‘De nogales singulares’ [From distinguished walnut trees] shall be accompanied by the name of the listed walnut tree.

When the product is placed on the market, the descriptors of the different forms shall be used: ‘Whole’, ‘Whole Kernel’, ‘Halves’ and ‘Ground’.

4.   Concise definition of the geographical area

The traditional area for the production, handling and packaging of ‘Nueces de Nerpio’ comprises the natural geographical area around the drainage basin of the River Taibilla and its tributaries, demarcated at a minimum altitude of 900 m, covering the following territories.

Autonomous Community of Castile-La Mancha:

From the municipality of Nerpio, all of the cadastral polygons and/or parcels situated at over 900 m.

From the municipalities of Yeste and Letur, all of the cadastral polygons and/or parcels situated at over 900 m and which belong to the drainage basin of the River Taibilla.

Autonomous Community of Murcia:

From the municipality of Moratalla, all the cadastral polygons and/or parcels situated at over 900 m and which belong to the drainage basin of the River Taibilla.

5.   Link with the geographical area

The ‘Nueces de Nerpio’ PDO is based on the specific characteristics of the primary material, which are closely linked to the geographical origin through natural and human factors.

Specificity of the geographical area

The production area, the basin of the Taibilla Valley, is part of the southern area of the Sierra de Segura mountain range, the geological intersection of the Prebaetic and Subbaetic regions of south-east Spain. The surrounding area is mountainous, formed of limestone and dolomite ranges all at altitudes of around 2000 [m]. The production area of the ‘Nuez de Nerpio’ is situated in the middle, formed of system of small intermountain valleys at an altitude of over 900 m. The River Taibilla, the main tributary of the Segura, flows through the area. This medium-high mountain area of limestone and dolomite rocks forms a typical agroforestry environment in which the native Nerpio walnut has found its natural ecological niche, perfectly adapted as a result of successive selection by Nerpio farmers since the 16th century. The area is of significant environmental value and belongs to the Natura 2000 network.

The climate is typical of a medium-high mountain area. In general terms, it can be classed as warm continental/Mediterranean, Csb according to the Köppen climate classification system. Average temperatures are between 10 oC and 15 oC (1981-2010). There is significant seasonal temperature variation, with an absolute maximum of 45,7 oC and absolute minimum of -15,7 oC, and also diurnal variation, up to 22 oC in spring and autumn. These variations are fostered by the temperature inversions in the Taibilla Valley, resulting in specific crop-growing conditions. In addition, rainfall is moderate, between 400 and 600 mm, with a significant decrease moving eastwards, a consequence of the desertification of south-east Spain. Evapotranspiration is high, between 600 and 800 mm depending on the altitude.

Ambient humidity is low, with an annual average of 65 %. In general, the walnut trees are well protected from the winds, thanks to their location in the intermountain valleys.

The soils in which the walnut trees are grown are limestone-marl and dolomite in character, formed on fluvial deposits of the Quaternary period and terraces from the sub-basin of the River Taibilla. The soil texture varies but is mainly loam and clay-loam. The pH is very high, between 8,0 and 8,5, as a consequence of very high levels of calcium carbonate of up to 50 %. The levels of organic matter in these soils are very high, over 2 % and, in some cases, reaching as much as 4 % in the top 20 cm layer. They are very fertile and balanced soils for the walnut trees.

The quality of the water in the drainage basin of the Taibilla Valley is good, C2-S1 to C3-S1, according to the classification of the University of California, Riverside. The waters are carbonated and alkaline, pH 7,9 to 8,4, due to the nature of the bedrock.

The landscape of Nerpio and the Taibilla Valley has been shaped by the cultivation of walnut trees since time immemorial. The terraces of Arabic origin, dating back hundreds of years to the 12th and 13th centuries, are a notable feature, allowing flood irrigation over such steep terrain. A dense network of ancient ditches criss-crosses the land, channelling the waters of the River Taibilla and its tributaries, along with isolated springs. The terraces are laid out alongside ancient stone walls which provide support to the hillsides and acequias (ancient irrigation channels). This traditional cultivation practice, and the presence of the old walnut trees, represent the fundamental elements of the landscape and crop-tending heritage of Nerpio and the Taibilla Valley, forming an eco-environment for cultivating the native walnut tree, unique to Spain. It is an ancient environment landscaped into terraces.

Characteristic properties

The kernel or seed of the Nerpio walnut has a high tannin content, mainly resulting from gallic and ellagic acids, giving the product specific characteristics. In terms of rancidity, it is very stable, with a shelf life of over a year. It has a slightly bitter taste with an astringent sensation. The skin is a slightly darker colour: beige-bronze-chestnut. The high tannin levels mean a high Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC ≥ 110 ± 10 % μmol Trolox/g of walnuts). A scientific publication from the Institute of Fats and Oils of Seville (CSIC) [Higher Council for Scientific Research] demonstrates the superior antioxidant properties of Nerpio walnuts in relation to other commercial varieties: ‘Nutritional composition and antioxidant activity of different walnut varieties (Junglans regia L.) from Nerpio (Spain) in comparison to commercial varieties (I. Viera-Alcaide, et al. Grasas y Aceites 70 (3) July-Sept. 2019.)’.

Causal link between the geographical area and the quality or characteristics of the product (for PDO) or a specific quality, the reputation or other characteristic of the product (for PGI)

The Nerpio walnut has some unique physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics. It is considered an eco-type originating from Nerpio, with specific characteristics that are difficult to reproduce outside the production area.

The differentiating characteristics of Nerpio walnuts include the dark kernel skin, long shelf-life and resistance to rancidity, slightly bitter taste and astringent sensation. These characteristics are linked to their high tannin content, as well as their high antioxidant capacity (TEAC ≥ 110 μmol Trolox/g of walnuts), far higher than other walnuts on the market. These characteristics are also directly related to natural and human factors: selection of plant material, specific agricultural and climate conditions for cultivation, along with natural drying and storage of the walnuts.

1)    Varietal selection of native walnut trees

The work of selecting the walnut trees in Nerpio dates back to the 16th century, as attested by the ‘Plantón del Covacho’, an ancient Nerpio walnut tree dating back some 600 years. The native varieties of Nerpio are characterised by their darker pigmentation and a more intense flavour than commercial walnuts. This is a result of the direct influence of the walnut growers of Nerpio who, over centuries, have selected walnuts which have greater flavour and which are slightly bitter and astringent, and darker.

2)    Specific agricultural and climate conditions of cultivation

Soil conditions: The native Nerpio varieties are perfectly adapted to the highly calcareous conditions of the soils in the Taibilla Valley, with a pH of between 8 and 8,5 and over 50 % calcium carbonate. These calcareous conditions block the take-up of phosphorus from the soil. As a result, the walnuts are deficient in this mineral, leading to greater violet pigmentation of the leaves and fruits, associated with higher levels of anthocyanins and other phenolic compounds such as flavonols, flavonoids and tannins.

Climate conditions: The Mediterranean conditions of Nerpio are typical of the south-eastern Iberian Peninsula, with high levels of sunshine, high temperatures, low rainfall and high ETP, up to 800 mm. Such conditions result in water stress for the walnut trees during summer, triggering synthesis of the tannins deriving from gallic and ellagic acids. As a consequence, the pigmentation of the kernel skin darkens. The significant diurnal temperature variations of the Taibilla Valley, over 22 oC, facilitated by the temperature inversions in the valley, contribute to increasing the tannins in the walnuts in the final stage of ripening.

3)    Specific natural drying and storage conditions for walnuts in Nerpio

The cold and dry climate of autumn and winter accelerates the process of dehydration (drying) of the walnuts. Other factors include harvesting at the optimum point of ripening; traditional natural driers; and also the good storage conditions at moderate, and constant, temperatures below 20 oC, and the low humidity, below 75 oC. Prior to the walnuts being placed on the market, these factors provide the best storage conditions for the walnuts and preserve their antioxidants (tannins), thereby slowing down the process of rancidity. Procedures involving washing and/or forced drying are not compatible with the PDO ‘Nueces de Nerpio’.

Reference to publication of the product specification

(1)  OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, p. 1.