2020: A most generous year for Tuscan Olive Oils
The Italian peninsula is a monument to the olive tree. There are 1.2 million olive growers in Italy cultivating 584 varieties and close to 150 million trees. Indeed, there is as much diversity among oils as there is among wines. Even within Tuscany, a region that is 23,000 square kilometres in size, there is a tremendous range of styles, as the olive tree is as sensitive to site as any grape variety. The resulting olive oils are representative of their varietals and location.
The 2020 olive harvest in Tuscany is one of the most generous in terms of quantity and quality in recent years. The growing season was perfect in terms of timings and weather: a good spring guaranteed good flowering and an abundant fruit set, and the following dry hot summer saw the olive tree undisturbed by any of the pests or diseases that can ruin a growing season. As a result, the olives were healthy when picked.
Capezzana Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2020
The Capezzana estate, 24 kilometres north west of Florence, is owned by the Conti Contini Bonacossi family and has 140 hectares of olive groves with 26,000 trees. Olive oil has been made at Capezzana since Etruscan and Roman times. The first recorded oil is mentioned in a contract dating back to 804 AD, written at the time of Charlemagne, which details both Capezzana's 'vineyards and olive groves'. Olive trees in this area, close to the most northern frontier of olive cultivation, produce less than one tenth of the quantity produced by those in milder, more southerly climes. This oil is made primarily from Moraiolo, an early ripening variety, so the olives tend to be blacker when picked resulting in softer, fruitier oils. The 2020 extra virgin olive oil is elegant, with an intense green colour and beautiful aromas of freshly cut grass, artichoke and green almond husk. On the palate, the oil is fresh and persistent, but not aggressive, and a wonderful enhancement to foods.
Fontodi Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chianti Classico 2020
Fontodi is one of Chianti Classico's most impressive estates and has been run by Giovanni Manetti since 1980. In addition to the 90 hectares of vineyard on the Fontodi estate, there are a further 10,000 olive trees situated in a variety of different plots, predominantly on marl soils, at altitudes between 400-500 metres above sea level and at a density of 400 plants per hectare. The late ripening Correggiolo variety is favoured at Fontodi, giving the typical fresh aromas of olives, artichokes and aromatic herbs. The oil is deep green in colour and already has a good balance between bitter and spicy notes on the palate, while maintaining a great freshness.
Selvapiana Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2020
Selvapiana has 31 hectares of the Frantoio (the local name for Correggiolo) olive variety planted at 250-300 metres above sea level in the Sieve Valley, northeast of Florence. The cool current of mountain air that is funnelled through a pass in the Apennines down the valley makes Rufina one of the coolest grape and olive growing zones in Tuscany. The Frantoio is a late ripening variety, so the olives are greener when picked, resulting in one of the greatest and most spicy oils in Tuscany. The oil is a vivid emerald green with great viscosity. It has fresh and clean aromas with notes of artichoke. On the palate, it is dense and viscous with lovely purity and intensity and a spicy, peppery character on the finish.
Poggiotondo Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2020
The Poggiotondo estate has 2,000 olive trees situated 200-300 metres above sea level. The low-lying hills on the northern side of the Arno Valley provide one of the warmer micro-climates in Tuscany, giving oils that are fuller and richer than those from further inland but still with the characteristic pepperiness of good Tuscan oil. The estate has been certified organic since 2014. The olive oil has a very deep green colour. The Frantoio variety and, in a smaller percentage, Mignola variety, offer an oil of great balance and freshness, characterised on the nose by notes of artichoke leaf, cut grass and light white pepper, with a strong and intense taste, fruity but with a spicy and herbaceous note in the finish.
Fèlsina Berardenga, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Classico Blend 2020
This 470-hectare estate is located northeast of Siena in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, on the southern border of the Chianti Classico zone. There are three separate olive grove 'units' (Boschi, Fèlsina, Pagliarese), each with distinctive soils and weather, and three different terroirs for each olive variety. The olive groves cover 47 hectares, totalling 6,923 trees. Bright green in colour, the olive oil stands out for the remarkable intensity of its bitter and peppery properties, beautifully balanced with spice and herbaceous essences.