For all our adoptive tree parents, this time of year is one of great anticipation, as the due date for the precious new arrival approaches. Any day now, a stork will arrive carrying your bespoke bonnie bundle – a package of divine extra virgin olive oil from your very own Italian olive tree.
There are a few things you should know about the new addition to your family. Just as with grapes, there are hundreds of varieties of olives, each producing a different tasting oil. In addition, the olive oil from a leccino olive grove in Umbria will taste quite different from leccino oil from a Le Marche grove. Even adjacent groves can produce very different tasting oils, depending on the terrain, the care of the trees and how quickly after picking the olives are pressed. The differences are so great, in fact, that even within our Nudo family of producers, there is more than a generous drizzle of competitiveness. Naturally, every grove owner believes their olive oil is the best. But who is right? Along with your olive oil you will find a tasting card, which you can send back to us, or fill in the online tasting card at http://bit.ly/96KRa0 and we will announce which grove wins the popular vote.
To help get you going, we’ve compiled some tasting notes of our own.
This year the oil taste profile was affected by the dry summer. The oil is medium fruity, with a herbaceous leaning and the smell of almonds and artichoke. Overall it’s very well balanced with a leaning towards the sweet end of the scale. The taste profile diagram is shown above. Around the edges, clockwise from the top are the different internationally recognised type of flavours you find in olive oils – fruity, green, bitter, peppery, sweet, almonds and artichoke
This oil has a delicate golden yellow colour. It has a light flavouring and sometimes a peppery after-kick, which is indicative of a high concentration of polyphenolic antioxidants and freshness. It has an acidity level of less than 0.5% (it needs to be under 0.8% to be classed as extra virgin).
This is a very high quality oil (though not quite as good as the exceptional 2008 pressing) from an organic grove. All the groves in the region were affected by ‘mosca’, an olive fly this year; what this means, is that the olives have to be picked as early as possible which has the effect of producing an oil that is slightly more peppery. This year, the oil is green with a golden hue. The smell is fruity with a hint of cut grass and the flavour is fruity with a slight bitterness and a spicy tip. The acidity is 0.5 (it needs to be under 0.8% to be classed as extra virgin) and it hits 6.8 on the peroxide scale.
This year the oil is light to medium on the fruity scale. Although the colour isn’t a reflection of quality the oil this year is yellow with a hint of green. The ‘nose’ is strong with hints of almonds, leaves and artichokes. The acidity 0.16 (it needs to be under 0.8% to be classed as extra virgin, so this is really low). Overall the quality is high and this years oil is sweeter and less peppery than from the previous harvest.
The colour of the oil is straw-like with a tendency towards green. The aroma is intense and fruity with hints of freshly cut grass. The taste is peppery and spicy due to the early harvesting of the olives by hand (the longer you leave the olive on the tree the milder the oil is, but the higher the oil content is – so it a balance of quality versus quantity and we go for quality). It is one of the best years for oil from Fonte Carella because the trees didn’t produce great quantities, and so a tonne of quality was pumped into each and every fruit.
Again, a great year, though not as great as last years. The acidity is pretty low 0.34 (it needs to be under 0.8% to be classed as extra virgin) and the peroxide level is 7, which means that the olives were in a good condition when they were pressed. It is a medium fruity oil with a green nature and almond flavour. The oil is overall sweet, with a peppery note and a medium intensity of bitterness. There is also an aftertaste of almonds. It has a beautiful yellow colour. The polyphenol level is around 500 (these are the cardioprotective compounds in the oil, so the more the better).
As Rita says, this delicate oil should be treated gently, like you should treat a women. It is well balance, medium fruity, with a very low acidity (i.e. very high quality) of 0.02% (it needs to be under 0.8% to be classed as extra virgin). It has a grassy nose (i.e. smell) with hints of grass and tomatoes. And it has a almond flavour with slight peppery aftertaste. At pressing the oil was rather green, but we have noticed it is becoming more yellow.
This oil is very well balanced. Its colour is yellow with a green hue. Its nose is medium fruity with hints of almonds and artichokes, whilst its taste is again well balanced with a hint of bitterness and a medium intensity of pepperyness. All topped off with an aftertaste of almonds. Yum. It’s polyphenol count hits the highs at 445 (these are the cardioprotective compounds in the oil, so the more the better).
This is a light subtle oil with a fresh fragrance of artichoke, tomatoes and green apple. There is a peppery after-kick which you should watch out for, which is a sign of the healthy antioxidants in the oil. The acidity level is less than 0.3% and the colour is a lovely golden yellow.
The oil has a beautiful golden green glow. The smell of this oil is evocative of freshly cut grass and a hint of artichoke. In taste oil is well balanced but milder and more delicate than in previous years. It has a buttery textures followed by a herbaceous, cut-grass flavour. This oil is at it’s prime now, so drizzle with impunity.
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