We’re thrilled to announce that the Northern Hemisphere fresh crush EVOOs are available in all of our stores.
In order to ensure you have access to the freshest, highest quality olive oils we source our single varietal EVOOs from the finest producers from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, rotating every six months. In the Northern Hemisphere, the oil season begins in early October extending to late February.
Similar to choosing when to pick wine grapes, the best olive oil comes from harvesting and crushing the olives at right time. Picking before the olive is ripe, provides low acidity but gives the oil a green, grassy taste. Waiting until late in the season to harvest the olives provides a higher yield for the growers, which translates into more money. However, oils made from late harvest olives are often not fit for human consumption unless they’ve been refined.
Harvesting and crushing the olives at the perfect moment of ripeness means lower yields, but higher quality, and much healthier EVOOs. In addition to tasting better and having a higher smoke point, the early harvest olives contain a higher polyphenol levels – the ingredient responsible for most of EVOO’s health benefits.
This season, we selected nine single varietals from three regions. Like many fine wines and single-malt whiskies, the single varietals are made from one type of fruit. Each olive type contributes a different flavor profile, and buying a single varietal instead of a blend ensures quality, as the producer can’t use one type of olive to mask the flavor of inferior olives.
And just like wine grapes, the olive’s characteristics vary year to year, depending on weather and growing region. A Frantoio that was mild one year, could be robust the next. As with all of our products, each of nine new EVOOs are available to taste.
This year’s EVOOs were harvested and crushed in November 2016. Here are some tasting notes to get you started.
Intensity: Mild. Notes of green almond and apple peel give way to flavors of ripe banana. Balanced with minimal bitterness and slightly more pepper, our delicate early harvest California Koroneiki has a slightly pungent finish.
Intensity: Mild/Medium. Our early harvest organic California Arbosana is loaded with ripe fruit notes. Creamy green olive, almond and a pleasant richness, make up this delicate, well balanced oil.
Intensity: Medium. Our early harvest organic California Arbequina is creamy and delicate with notes of green almond, artichoke and citrus. It has a nice peppery finish and low bitterness.
Intensity: Mild. This new cultivar was developed in Spain in 1991 as a cross between the iconic Spanish Picual and Arbequina varieties. Our example is sweet and delicate, displaying pleasant notes of green almond and olive.
Intensity: Medium. The dominant variety in Portugal, this early harvest example is perfectly balanced with equal parts pungency and bitterness. Delicate, creamy and viscous with notes of berry and creamy almond.
Intensity: Robust. Historically one of the most popular Northern Hemisphere EVOOS, the Portuguese Cobrançosa is very complex. Layered with creamy flavors and savory notes of nettle and green herb, this unique Portuguese variety has developed a loyal following.
Intensity: Medium. A delightfully pungent version of the iconic Greek varietal. Chock full of pepper and savory herb notes, this example displays herbaceous qualities is pungent without a ton of bitterness.
Intensity: Robust. An intensely herbaceous Frantoio, chock full of pepper and savory herb notes, this example displays capsicum like sensations and registers high in antioxidant content without a ton of bitterness.
Intensity: Robust. This flawless Spanish oil comes from one of the most decorated producers in the world. Notes include green tomato leaf, fresh cut grass and garden herbs. Ample bitterness and pungency make this oil a favorite among olive oil aficionados. A visually stunning example of early harvest emerald green Picual.
Will you be doing a tasting of all of them?
Hi Patti – Thanks so much for your question. We’ve not planned a formal tasting event but they are all available to taste in any of our four locations. The staff is excited to share these with our customers. libby