After a very dry and hot season we experienced a few frosty mornings just before the olives were ready to pick. This sharp drop in temperature assisted the harvest, helping to slow down the ripening and allowed us to pick each varietal at the optimum time.
The Leccino and Pendolino varieties were the first to be harvested at the end of May, with a nice balance of dark and green olives. The Frantoio came a week later, slightly greener than the first pickings.
Weather during harvest was perfect - cool mornings and mild temperatures helped our diverse team (from Italy, Canada, France, England and New Zealand) keep the olives in perfect condition before they were transported to the olive press.
As with all activity within the estate, we harvest following the biodynamic calendar, aiming for fruit days and ideally near to the full moon in order to achieve a great balance. We believe this creates an oil that exhibits a desirable spicy and peppery character, whilst also resulting in a good extraction rate.
The process of making olive oil is quite simple, but also meticulous. After passing through a conveyor belt that removes any leaves and twigs, the olives are ground and the mash is then transferred to the press, where a mesh allows the oil to be extracted and separated from the pulp. This all takes place at cold to room temperature, never exceeding 28°C to prevent any change of the natural chemical composition of the oil.
Straight from the press, we bottled a small quantity of Olio Nuovo - this bright, peppery oil will go beautifully with salads and fresh cooked pasta. The remaining oil is processed as Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), settling in the tank for a few months before release. Expect the 2020 EVOO to be harmonious and versatile.