The cracks in the dry land mark another year that has passed. Like wrinkles on a man’s face, like rings on the trunk of a tree. Another year, another story in itself.
Like this year’s one, a singular, unrepeatable and, hopefully, unrepeatable story. We know, we can not correct, tame, standardize nature, we can only try to stem its disruptive force or to follow its course. Observing it, patiently, choosing the right moment to act, always following it and never trying to oppose it, tacitly accepting the decisions.
In recent years we have had to note how unpredictable our work can be, linked to an ever-changing year and to an entity superior to all our wills or conditioning: the ever more extreme, sudden, instantaneous weather, determining both in the good and in evil.
When the weather is favorable, it manages to give us the lush, rich seasons, like the 2016, during which the plants have had a regular development, facilitated by favorable weather conditions from spring until harvest.
In 2017, on the contrary, the excellent flowering was strongly affected by the hot winds of those days, already putting a heavy mortgage on the progress of the campaign in the spring. In the summer, the situation has worsened, due to high temperatures and prolonged drought, factors that have caused considerable water stress to the trees.
Arriving at the time of collection, we did not know what we should have expected. We were well aware of the fact that there would be a moderate drop in the quantity of olives to be crushed, as the fruit set had been significantly compromised. But the question we were asked to answer was: how much, and above all, what oil would we find in the olives left?
At the end of the campaign, we can afford to unbalance: the abundant yields, fortunately, have partly compensated for the lack of raw material, allowing us to work on discrete volumes, albeit less than our standard.
But the smaller quantity, even this is well known, does not necessarily lead to a decline in quality.
The fruits have come to ripen beautiful and healthy, especially thanks to the absence of the fly, whose population, totally annihilated by the very high temperatures, will have to completely reconstitute next year.
We must take into account the fact that the production turned out to be not very homogeneous, a consequence of the different flowering stage in which the plant was located when the hot wind blew, so this year more than ever any tree, every fruit was different from the other, unique. In such a singular context, in such particular circumstances, the cultivars have expressed themselves in various ways, depending on the starting conditions they have encountered in their specific range. The Olivastra Seggianese seems to have had a better yield than the other varieties, most likely because, being close to Monte Amiata, it was affected by the heat to a lesser extent, also enjoying cooler night temperatures and some summer storms.
Every year, after all, we are faced with new, “virgin”olives, which will never be the same as any other olive that has entered or will enter the hopper. On the other hand, just as in the case of wine, for which alternating exceptional vintages alternate with others with a less elegant profile and which do not lend themselves well to aging, so too does the oil live the same dynamics, as a product of agriculture as is. And being “producers” also means, and above all, creating your own story day by day, building your own wealth of experience, trying to enhance the raw material, harvesting after harvesting, crossing the vintages and recepending the characteristics with constant knowledge and techniques improvement. All jobs that are essential to each other, and a single mission: the recognition and enhancement of mutual excellence, that of the product and that of the territory that has given it to us.