Trequanda celebrates the new oil and Fattoria del Colle brings to the table the first olive pressing in 2022. Tuscany grows in quantity and quality compared to 2021
The festa dell’Olio Novo is back in Trequanda this year together with applause for the newly elected Senator Silvio Franceschelli, Mayor of Montalcino, who told us “the inhabitants of small towns have the right to have the same opportunities as those who live in the city”. A political program that we agree with. The third reason for celebration a visit from my friend and great oil expert Antonietta Mazzeo. She dined with us together with the surprise guest Massimo Rossi, AIS delegate from Arezzo and 40 exuberant aspiring American writers.
Fattoria del Colle and the medieval village of Trequanda are at the centre of one of the best Italian production districts for extra virgin olive oil.
TRACEABILITY OF THE OIL
The Olio Novo festa is an opportunity to learn something about the healthiest fruit on earth. In the Tracoil Conference I listened to Professor Stefano Loppi and Doctor Martina Grattacaso explain how the area of origin leaves a trace in the oil that resembles a fingerprint. The parameters examined are three: the composition of the soil, the chemical analysis of the oil and the isotope ratios. The Valdichiana markers are calcium, nickel and strontium. As for fatty acids, the comparison between our extra virgin olive oil and Portuguese oil shows in the latter, the presence of many fatty acids in small quantities while the foreign sample highlights a smaller number of acids with higher concentrations. Overall, the study, which will soon be completed with the analysis of isotopes, shows how it is possible to trace the origin of the Valdichiana extra virgin olive oil, safeguarding it from those who pass off a foreign oil as Tuscan.
ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN OIL FROM THE FATTORIA DEL COLLE
In the Fattoria del Colle there are two small olive groves with the correggiolo (frantoio) and moraiolo varieties for a total of 6 hectares of trees planted in 1986 after the terrible frost that burned almost all the Tuscan olive trees. Only the large olive trees survived along the path leading to the farm.
They produce a total of 10-15 hl of extravirgin divided into two small selections of monocultivars and a DOP Toscana blend. They are all organic. Actually producing oil in an organic way is easy in Trequanda where the oil fly arrives very rarely. The olive groves are 400 meters above the sea, in a breezy position and on a land of marine sands that seems born to produce olives. Harvesting takes place by hand after mid-October when the fruits are well formed and still green. Using small electric rakes and nets laid on the grass the olives are collected in perforated baskets and taken every day to the Sant’Angelo mill in Castelmuzio a few kilometres from the Fattoria del Colle. Paolo Bindi’s oil mill has a Pieralisi plant and he puts all his efforts into preserving the fragrance and aromas of the olives. The extra virgin olive oil is then stored in the dark and at a controlled temperature in the small orciaia inside the cellar. It is on sale at the Fattoria del Colle and online.
EXTRA VIRGIN OIL FOR CHILDREN
Since last year, Fattoria del Colle’s proposal of EVO oil in glass bottles has been enriched with an oil for children. It is packaged in small metal cans (0.25 and 0.50Cl) covered with a label full of GANGHERETTI, small monsters designed by the painter Alessandro Grazi.
2022 EVO OIL IN ITALY
According to Coldiretti, a production drop of 30% with respect to last year is expected due to summer water stress. Added to this are the higher costs of fuel, energy and packaging materials: from glass to packaging cartons.
In contrast to Tuscany where the harvest is expected to grow in quality and quantity thanks to the rainfalls from August onwards and to the September with strong night-day excursions.
My region alone drove exports in the first half of 2022 covering a third of foreign shipments for a value of 464 million euros.
HOW TO STORE EXTRA VIRGIN OIL
It should be kept in a dark and cool place but not in the cold because it freezes long before water does. Long-term storage should take place in the absence of air and in fact the orciaia at Fattoria del Colle is equipped to saturate the small storage tanks with inert gas.
Poor storage destroys much of the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil: oleic acid for example, a monounsaturated fat capable of regulating cholesterol levels. EVO oil reduces the likelihood of heart attack, diabetes, cancer and aging.
THE TASTING OF EXTRA VIRGIN OIL
Coloured glasses and a green apple are needed to remove the flavours between one taste and the next.
Use your senses to recognize the best oil.
Visual observation is very useful for understanding fraud: olive oil rotates slowly in the glass while if it is cut with sunflower seed oil it is much smoother and faster. The colour on the other hand – green in youth, yellow after a few months – is of little relevance because it can be easily counterfeited.
The sense of smell is more truthful. The oil should be heated (28 ° C) by placing one hand on the cup and the other to close the glass in order to capture all the aromas. The good ones recall artichoke and cut grass (green fruity) or sweet fruit (ripe fruity).
The tasting should be done before and not after meals. It is also necessary to refrain from smoking before tasting the oil as it is better to avoid perfumes on the body or in the environment.
The olive oil tasting technique requires you to put a sip of oil in your mouth, chew it and then suck between your teeth, continuing for about half a minute. The perceptions will be progressively more intense, before swallowing or spitting out the oil and will continue even after. We will taste bitterness, spiciness, dryness, astringency … The bitter-spicy taste is a virtue and indicates a high presence of polyphenols (antioxidant elixirs of long youth). But the olfactory harmony is the greatest value that must be sought.