2020 Harvest Notes
Each year, the Olio Verde estate extracts an impressive complexity from the Nocellara del Belice olive (also known as Castelvetrano). The 2020 Harvest has the aroma of ripe tomatoes, almost as if you have just opened a jar of tomato passata. The oil is very well-balanced, with medium fruitiness and spiciness in total harmony. It has a mild bitterness, soft nuttiness, and a hint of white pepper that amuses the palate. The mouthfeel is unctuous and velvety.
Olio Verde’s creator, Gianfranco Becchina, set out to accomplish what many considered a follia (“folly”): develop a world-class olive oil in a land where quantity had always reigned over quality. He purchased and restored a historic agricultural estate on the outskirts of Castelvetrano, Sicily (owned for six centuries by the noble family Tagliavia Pignatelli Aragona Cortes), carefully revitalizing its 60 acres of 300-year-old olive groves. One of the first monocultivar (single-varietal) olive oils in Italy, Olio Verde sings in exaltation of the intensely green, nutty (noce means “walnut”) Nocellara del Belice olive.
Cultivation, Harvest, & Milling Techniques
An elaborate irrigation system delivers water to every tree from a nearby underground spring in the event of a rigorous summer draught. The olives are hand-picked when still green but with a light sheen of white that only persists for two weeks at the most. Picking the olives at this stage is regarded by many local growers as too early to harvest because of lower resulting oil yields. Gianfranco loves the intense flavors that come from this early harvest and it has become a signature taste profile that many American chefs adore. Using the continuous cycle method, the oil is not filtered and has bright green chlorophyll suspended in each bottle acting as a natural preservative.