The olive oil harvest 2014 has been influenced strongly by the unusual climatic conditions that we experienced through the whole year.
The exceptionally high winter temperatures and the incessant rain that marked the whole growing season have influenced the development of flowering, fruit set, development and the fruit growth in a negative way.
These same factors have also encouraged the development of the Olive Fruit Fly (Bactrocera oleae, Dacus oleae) that created during the 2014 campaign notable damage quantity and quality-wise all over Italy.
Despite these adverse conditions, we fought with all “organic weapons” available (such as frequent copper treatments and most important the use of insect traps to catch the flies) focusing on the higher lying olive groves, as those around the Nittardi Main House (about 500 m, with mainly north-west exposure) where the conditions for the development of the fruit flies are less favourable due to lower temperatures. Further one we picked every variety separately and realized that the cultivar Moraiolo was the one that had less problems.
We anticipated the picking by two weeks starting on the 20th of October and doing an extra manual selection by using only healthy and not affected olives. These have been pressed as usual within four hours to prevent oxidation.
Considering the challenging year all this effort has been successful!
Even if the production has been very limited compared to the average of previous years, due to a strong selection using only healthy olives from higher lying olive groves, the quality is satisfying. However we decided not to produce any Essenza di Nittardi, our very special selection of three different mono-varietal Olive Oils, because the results didn’t match the high standard we require for our most prestigious selection of Olive Oil. The parcels of Olive Oil that normally go into Essenza have been blended into our Oliva di Nittardi by giving it an extra layer of finesse and complexity. Oliva di Nittardi has been winning many important awards over the last years among others the prestigious Sol D’Oro (Best Olive Oil in the world in the fruttato intenso category) and 3 Foglie by Gambero Rosso.
The main points that guaranty that the Olive Oil 2014 is of high quality are:
– We worked with one of the best olive oil mills in Italy: Torre Bianca in San Casciano Val di Pesa.
– All the Olives were strictly harvested by hand, eliminating all the unhealthy olives, leaves and little branches.
– All the Olives were transported in cases of max. 15 kg avoiding excessive pressure and bruising of the olives.
– All the Olives were pressed within four hours after the harvest.
– Once we pressed the oil we avoided strictly any kind of oxygen contact and bottled it immediately to avoid oxidation.