January is one of our favorite months at California Olive Ranch. We finally get to taste the newly harvested extra virgin olive oil. After we harvest our olives in October and November the olive oil “racks” (lets the sediment sink to the bottom of our tanks so the oil is clear and generally gives the oil a longer life) for a couple of months. Once we near the end of racking process, our team tastes the oils to determine what blend of our extra virgin olive oils goes into each of our offerings you find on store shelves.
We grow three olive varieties, Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki. Each of these varietals have different flavor profiles. The timing of when they are harvested and where they are grown also impacts the flavor of the olive oils they create. There are literally millions of variations that you can come up with to create these oils.
In each olive oil, we strive for balanced flavor profile that represents the blend. For our everyday extra virgin olive oil we strive for an olive oil that is versatile – tasty enough for dipping, but mild enough so that it does not overwhelm your food. This year it contains a majority of later harvest Arbequina and a hint of Arbosana. Later harvest Arbequina is a mild and fruity olive oil. Arbosana lends a wonderfully nutty and floral aroma to the oil. We hope that when you open the bottle the first thing you notice is the wonderful fragrance.
We go through the same process for every blend. For Rich & Robust, for example, we combine earlier harvest Arbequina which is fruitier and has a stronger flavor intensity with Koroneiki, our most pungent oil, to create a peppery, rich, strongly flavored oil. For Arbequina we use a blend of early and mid-harvest Arbequina for a nice fruity oil with a little more pungency than EDF. Our Arbosana is a very special oil; this year it is a complex oil with lots of nuttiness and floral overtones. And so on for each of our products. If we had to choose favorites this year for finishing oils, we’d pick Miller’s Blend or Arbosana.
We hope you will get and out and try one or more of our 2014 harvest extra virgin olive oils. They should hit shelves relatively soon.