Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Il Palazzone Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made exclusively with olives grown on the estate at 1,476-1,640 feet above sea level. When ready, the olives are picked by hand. Picking happens early in order to prevent the fully ripe olives from falling to the ground and being bruised in the process. Gathering the olives from the ground would allow for a more rapid harvest but would interfere with the quality of the final product. A comb-like tool is used to sweep the olives off each branch and the olives are placed directly into a reed basket worn around the waist of each picker. Harvesting before the olives fully mature — generally mid- or end of November — results in a smaller yield but higher quality oil. This process ensures the deep green color and magnificent artichoke bouquet of the oil.
Il Palazzone works with the prestigious award-winning press, Frantoio Franci, in Montenero – www.frantoiofranci.it. The olive oil is then filtered by gravity with natural cotton before being bottled. Dark green bottles protect the oil from light and help to preserve its fragrance and beautiful color. Production is very limited. In 2009 our yield was under 9 kg of oil every 100 kg of olives pressed! We made 711 bottles of precious oil.
Club 100 enables us to cut no corners and make the best possible Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the most traditional way.
Reading Our Label
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Oil produced by only physical (mechanical) means is called Virgin Oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is olive oil that satisfies specific high chemical and organoleptic criteria. It must contain no more than 0.8% acidity and is judged to have a superior taste.
This stands for Indicazione Geografica Protetta – it means that this oil is guaranteed and government certified as being entirely Tuscan in terms of quality and origin. After pressing the oil undergoes a series of analyses and panel tests to ensure not only quality but also to establish the oil’s tipicità i.e. that it fully represents Tuscan oil in every aspect of taste and appearance. The whole production procedure, from the branch to the bottle, must take place within Tuscany. The sticker on the neck of the bottle has a bottle specific code. If you would like to verify the traceability procedure, log on to http://www.oliotoscanoigp.it/ita/tracciabilita.html with your bottle to hand… “solely by mechanical means”
This means is that only physical means (as opposed to chemical) are used to extract the oil: the olives are just pressed. This is actually an obligatory criterion for both Virgin and Extra Virgin olive oil.
Not to be confused with the fact that we only hand-pick our olives. Harvesting olives by mechanical methods would mean that the olives are allowed to over-ripen in order to increase yield at the risk of quality We do not do this at Il Palazzone! It can take over a day to harvest the crop from one tree, basket at the waist and rastrello in hand but we pick each tree when it is ready.
Timing is everything: the taste of the olive oil is influenced by the soil that the olive trees grow on, but also by the moment when the olives have been harvested and ground. Green olives produce bitter oil and overripe olives produce rancid oil so we are extremely careful to only pick when the olives are perfectly ripened.
Our yield in 2008 was 22 pounds of olive per tree – the equivalent of a liter and a half of oil.
This is the accepted acronym for the Ministero per le Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali.
Frantoio means oil press. It is exceedingly rare for olive oil producers to have their own press and nearly everyone relies on an external frantoio. We chose this family-run business to press our olives. Each evening during harvest we deliver them our olives. Frantoio Franci, twice-awarded “Best Producer in the World,” is just 20 minutes from Il Palazzone so our precious harvest does not suffer in transit. For more information, www.frantoiofranci.it
First cold press?
“First cold press” is a commercial wording suggests that the oil in bottles is the first oil that came from the first press of the olives and that no heat is used. By law in Europe cold pressed actually means under 27°C. and there is never a “second” press of virgin oil, so the term “first press” is meaningless… but will your dinner guests know this??