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)

The 2023 season, looking back to look forward

We now have enough distance from the 2023 harvest to take stock of what happened and to have seen the oils settle. So, what’s the verdict?

 

2023 was another super challenging growing season. Following a relatively mild and dry winter, the rain and wind came in late spring at exactly the toughest moment, flowering. This had a particular impact in central and northern Italy reducing fruit set significantly. The summer began rather wet but then the heat kicked in during July and August requiring many of our growers to irrigate sporadically. Even if every measure is taken to dry farm, we have to be realistic about the changing climate and what impact it has on farming.

 

The south of Italy fared better in terms of volume and this season, an incredible 86% of Italian Olive Oil came collectively from the regions of Puglia, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily*, which is largely accounted for due to the significant reduction in central and northern Italy.

 

The heat throughout the summer months did an incredible job to concentrate the polyphenols and so the resulting oils from our incredible growers have high levels of these wonderful natural antioxidants. As is true for wine growing, challenging harvests are when it’s ever more important to follow the best producers, because the difference in resulting quality is often more noticeable. The attention to detail required in a difficult year is rewarded ever more in the bottle.

 

The flavours in all of the oils we have shared with you from this harvest are pure and true, representative of their origin in the best possible way and we are genuinely proud of our frantoiani for the quality they have delivered. As we unfurl from winter, we do however wish them a far less complicated growing season ahead!

 

 

* source ISMEA