Montemaggiore olive oils come from our estate mountainside olive grove that surrounds our home. Organically and Biodynamically farmed just like our grapevines, these subtropical trees flourish in the long dry summers and mild winters of Northern California.
Olive trees have few requirements for growing, but they do love sun and hate wet roots, thus our mountainside is perfect given it's exposure and excellent drainage. We planted the trees all around our house because we like to look at the silvery-grey leaves waving in the wind. Our grove is spaced 12 feet between the trees and 12 feet between the rows to give them enough room to grow. If we were expecting to mechanically harvest the olives, we might have spaced the rows wider—but our mountainside necessitates hand picking.
Vincent's vision for Montemaggiore always included olive oil, so we planted 800 olive trees in the fall of 2002. These one-year-old Tuscan varietal olive trees were imported from northern Italy, where one branch of Vincent's family has a farm. Since olive trees take about ten years to come into full production, our first few harvests were very light, but subsequent harvests have been more bountiful! In November of 2008, we harvested 2,500 lbs of olives over three days, which is no easy feat given our steep hillsides. In the end, we pressed 35 gallons of olive oil, and we were overjoyed.
Tuscan Olive Varietals
Our olive varietals are the classics from Tuscany: Pendolino, Leccino, and Frantoio—continuing the traditions of our Italian ancestors.
The oil from this olive has a very delicate flavor. This varietal also has the advantage of being a great pollinator for other varietals. Pendolino has weeping or pendulous foliage, which is where the name originates.
The body and integrity of our oil comes from this olive. Mildly fruity and delicate, its oil is superbly balanced. Unlike many others, Leccino oil is palatable fresh off the press without any harsh bitterness.
This varietal is rich in oil (between 17 and 22%) which is very fruity, balanced, and notably aromatic. Frantoio is probably the main variety in Tuscany.
I planted the Tuscan olive varietals since one branch of my family settled in Siena, outside Florence, many decades ago.Vincent
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Why are so few olive flowers are pollinated? Why aren't grape flowers showy?