During the past few weeks, the entire farm has been abustle with the olive harvest. Up and down the stone terraces, and up on the sunny slopes (or rain drenched slopes like the last couple of days), the magic of Autumn is in the air, with smoke from burning wood mingling with the morning mist.
First, the nets are spread between the trees. Then the harvest truly begins. Assisted by an electric rake, everyone is eager to pick as many olives as possible, on a ladder to reach the highest branches, by hand to get to the more awkward spots.
The perfect time to pick them is when the olive is at 50% veraison: bicoloured, green and black.
The olives are then placed into well ventilated crates, so that the olives are not squashed and retain the freshness that distinguishes our extra virgin olive oil.
Within 24 hours, the olives are transported to the oil mill. Here they are washed to remove any remaining sand and leaves.
They are then ground by a hammer crusher and the resulting olive paste, an emulsion consisting of very tiny drops of oil, passes into the press where big drops of oil are formed.
The paste is then transferred to the decanter, where the solid residue (Pomace) and watery sediment (Amurca), separate from the oil.
This paste then passes into the separator, another centrifuge, where the oil is completely separated from any remaining water: the result of this final step is the pure extra virgin olive oil you will find in the bottles on our shelves.
Extra virgin olive oil must contain an oleic acid percentage of 1% or less. The lower the percentage of oleic acid in the oil, the better the quality of the product.
An excellent quality oil has a distinct pepperiness to it, an indication of its low oleic acid. To be extra virgin, an oil may not go through any chemical processes: it should simply be the product of freshly picked olives, cleaned with water, and crushed.
AN EARLY SEASON OFFERING
A full flavour, deep, typical peppery notes on the palate and that intense green colour reminiscent of the Chianti hills: Prime Gocce is a delicious and heart-warming early autumn offering.