LOCATION AND CLIMATE

 

As you might expect, olives grown in cooler areas where there is more moisture (rainfall and dew) exhibit leaner, more restrained characteristics.  This doesn’t however mean that great oil can now be made in Iceland – you need a minimum amount of sunshine to make your Extra Virgin Olive Oil taste remarkable, similarly to tomatoes or stone fruit.

Olive trees are sensitive to winter freeze (the Casaliva cultivar is more resistant to cold, hence being grown in the Garda region).  It is also easier to farm organically where the climate is more stable and less chemical sprays are required to keep the trees healthy.

OLIVE MATURITY

 

Here’s the thing – all olives are green.  When they become fully mature, they turn black.
Olive maturity at the time of harvest is a major factor in flavour and quality: olives harvested earlier (green olives) feature more bitter, grassy characteristics, with lower yields and with the highest anti-oxidant content.  The oil is a much more intense green colour and has a longer shelf-life.  In terms of production, milling can take longer with green olives (a longer malaxation - the action of slowly churning milled olives to release droplets of oil - is needed and can be more complicated) but the results are far superior!  Don’t choose olive oil from over mature fruit: it lacks all the potential goodness and flavour.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN GROVE AND MILL

 

People who care passionately about what they make and follow it personally every day have the capacity to create products with far higher quality, with integrity, and that taste of where they come from.  They are also able to do this by caring for the environment they inhabit.

FRANTOIO DI RIVA BOX

This box contains 6 bottles of extra virgin olive oil made exclusively by Frantoio di Riva from groves on the banks of lake Garda.

Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO green label x 3 bottles (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO organic white label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO blue label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, ULIVA Garda Trentino DOP x 1 bottle (50cl)

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Denocciolato: What’s the Story?

The Jury is very much out on the topic of denocciolato (pitted) olive oils.  It’s pretty interesting to decipher the arguments on both sides as we try to figure out what makes an olive oil have a longer shelf life, what influences the acidity level or polyphenol content for example.  The more people I ask about it, the more opinions come back. 

To give some detail here, pitting olives before pressing them has become a bit of a statement of quality in the past couple of years, those who do it (obvs) swear by it and they ought to, because it’s another laborious step in the complex process of pressing top quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  If you have never tried one, I suggest you seek out one of the monocultivars from Fèlsina, both Moraiolo and Pendolino are particularly impressive http://www.felsina.it/en/prodotti/moraiolo-oil-felsina/

The fact I can’t get my head around however is why one would want to give olive oil the potential to age in the same way as a wine?  To me, there is nothing more delicious than new season olive oil, it’s full of raw goodness that you can genuinely taste and feel.  Why would you ever wish to age it beyond the release of the next harvest therefore?  Is it just a point of difference to make you believe it’s worth more?

Throughout my career in wine and now my adventures in olive oil, my belief is that everything goes back to what is in the glass… senses are your most valuable friend in determining quality.  If the denocciolato oils I had tasted were better than those with stones, I would be listing them for you.  Don’t worry, I will continue tasting them and keeping an eye on this subject for you to ensure you get the very best.