In what many industry insiders are calling a “black harvest” year for Italian olive crops, few growers were able to produce limited supplies of high quality EVOO as in years past. The decimation of crops from hail storms and olive fly infestations which led to blight, have affected up to 80% of crops in some parts of Italy shutting down frantoi (olive crushing mills) with dire economic consequences.

Some growers were fortunate enough to salvage their olive crops with organic treatments or early picking. Other growers found the sheer luck of the geographical location of their estates to be their greatest asset. Three such growers have offered their early harvest oils, or olio nuovo, in limited supply.

Each year, we look forward to tasting these new harvest oils. They are the purest, most intense, and most spectacular way to appreciate the pressing of those little orbs of meaty delight we call olives. This year, we can appreciate and respect the growers and the olive groves a bit more.

Frescobaldi Laudemio
Frescobaldi Laudemio First Pressing, 2014 Harvest EVOO
Lamberto Frescobaldi, Laudemio

Lamberto Frescobaldi’s olive groves are spread throughout many estates in various parts of the wine denominations of Chianti Ruffina and Pomino. These sit well over 500 meters above sea level on some of the highest points of the Tuscan Apennines, so the groves are full of green healthy olives, unlike many of the lower altitudes near the Arno River.

The harvest began on October 17th, and Frescobaldi hopes to be able to achieve “similar quality and volumes for our Laudemio EVOO as in previous years.”Unlike other early harvest oils, Frecobaldi’s Laudemio First Pressing Oil is filtered and is enjoyed by connoisseurs all over the world.

Tasting Notes: Frescobaldi Laudemio First Pressing 2014 EVOO has a clear forest green color and mild scent of olives and freshly cut grass. The flavor is full of arichoke and bay leaf with a mild, peppery finish.

Suggestions for Use: Drizzle on fettunta (toasted bread rubbed with garlic), over warm beans and chickpeas, broccoli and romesco, or any bitter green salad (leave off the vinegar and let the flavor of the oil and vegetables shine). Pour generously over girlled meats such as bistecca alla Fiorentina (grilled sliced t-bone steak) or grilled fennel.

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Olio Verde
Olio Verde Nuovo, 2014 Harvest EVOO
Gianfranco Becchinia’s Olio Verde, Castelvetrano

“This year is not all roses and flowers in the olive oil secor in Sicily,” says Gianfranco Becchina. “In the vally of the Belice, many of us were saved by an agarian technician who had the increible intuition to advise us to treat very young olives with our organic treatments as early as June, something we would have never thought about. We followed with another treatment in July, which saved most of our olives. It was very hot in August and September, and even yesterday was hot. We started the harvest on October 10th and I am happy to say that the oil we are pressing is consistent with our usual Olio Verde.”

Tasting Notes: The 2014 Olio Verde Nuovo is unfiltered and bottled one week after pressing, which accounts for its cloudy yet jewel-like green hue. It has aromas of freshly cut grass, wheat and green apples, and in the mouth the oil is fresh, fruity and herbaceous. Olio Verde is silky and delicious, with notable pepperyness and astringency.

Suggestions for Use: Use in green salads with hearty, bitter greens such as kale and collard greens, as well as over steamed romesco, Brussels sprouts, broccoli or broccoli rabe. Drizzle over fish and vegetables hot off the grill or over a traditional Sicilian caponata. Olio Verde also adds a punch of green brightness to vegetable soups like minestrone.

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Fratelli Aprile
Fratelli Aprile 274th Il Novello, 2014 Harvest EVOO
Roberto and Daniele Fratelli, 

This generation of Fratelli Aprile (the Aprile Brothers) consists of Roberto and Daniele who inherited not only the business but the passion and respect for the land which generously provides for them. They are strongly tied to their region of Sicily and the Irminio River which runs through the whole of Southeast Sicily before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea.

Biancolilla cultivar olives are hand-picked at the correct stage of maturation, from October 1 to November 15, and are carefully selected and continuously cold-pressed within six hours of harvesting. 

The oil is referred to as 274th Biancolilla because October 1st is the 274th day according to the Gregorian calendar, but it is also the first calendar day according to olives’ rhythm. It is the beginning. It is the first taste, the most delicate. It is the evidence of the great and difficult work of nature, but also the proof of nature’s generosity of time.

Tasting Notes: Fratelli Aprile 274th Il Novello has a color of gold, with green reflections. Its scent is persistent, characterized by an olive aroma mixed with fresh grass, thistle, basil and green tomato. The flavor is delicate, harmonious, well-balanced, pleasantly spicy and bitter, with a sweet almond and herbaceus aftertaste.

Suggestions for Use: Drizzle over aged cheeses, focaccia, warm green bean salads, chickpeas, asparagus, or any bitter green salad (leave off the vinegar and let the flavor of the oil and vegetables shine). Pour over roasted meats, white fish, and risotto. Use unadulterated as a dip for artisan bread.

Click here for more information about Fratelli Aprile 274th Il Novello 2014 Harvest EVOO


Tasting Notes on the 2014 Italian New Harvest EVOOs
Article Name
Tasting Notes on the 2014 Italian New Harvest EVOOs
In what many industry insiders are calling a “black harvest” year for Italian olive crops, few growers were able to produce limited supplies of high quality EVOO as in years past.