In the silence of the countryside I love, I can not help thinking that I am part of a cycle, like the plants I take care of. There is a relationship of mutual teaching between me and nature, an implicit narrative that turns into memory and again, into life.
The first big cold of which I heard the story was that of 1956, but in front of the warm fire of the fireplace the stories, however close, seem to belong to lands as old as distant. The second cold of which I remember is that of 1985, with an absolute value of -18 °. That cold I heard it all, as a young boy I was impressed, amazed. I saw years of work paralyzed in one fell swoop and it is at that moment that I saw what I would call “resistance” among the weak but tenacious branches of olive trees. It is from the work that my father did later, without giving up in front of the worst, that I also learned to be resilient. From boy to man, thanks to the difficulties I have experienced and those I have heard about. The last cold I experienced came knocking this year at the doors of my olive oil mill and I want to tell you why, as Mario Luzi writes, “We are what we remember, the story is memory and memory is living”.
When the cold arrived, it seemed to have grown up, too. A comparison once again with Nature, outside and inside of me. I realized that, as we adapt to the cycles of nature, she adapts to ours and the stronger we become, the more intense the challenge will be. The weather is changing and the biggest challenge I will have to face will be an exhausted Nature that, once the good manners are over, will use the heavy ones.
This 2018, temperatures have dropped down, about -10 °, after an unusual January dressed as a young spring, and, unfortunately, for this joke of nature have paid the Olivastra Seggianese and Frantoio Cultivars who rested on the hilly slopes of my beautiful Amiata. Fortunately, the varieties under 300 meters in height did not suffer from the cold and our Moraiolo was able to debut in an exceptional year. The spring, thanks to its abundant rains, brought a little relief for plants injured by the cold, in fact, the water had stimulated the trees to produce new vegetation. At this point we could not hope for a better summer, in which the rain, alternating with the heat, was a godsend. Even the fly was weakened by the high temperatures, which contained the attacks. The picture was excellent until the beginning of September, then important winds of Tramontane caused water stress that led to an internal dehydration of the fruits and sometimes anomalous ripening. Overall, from an organoleptic point of view, the combination of these factors has led to oils with more contained bitter and spicy flavors and, consequently, simpler and usable to the common consumer.
The climate challenge of this 2018 has severely penalized the production of Olivastra Seggianese and our Grand Cru Rose, which will be the exclusive prerogative of some historical customers. The Delicate is back to being a monovarietale of Frantoio and this year has a particularly soft profile with sweet notes; the bitterness is almost absent and the spicy notes have a slight intensity that persists for a long time. I recommend this oil on fresh white truffle and seafood cruditée, delicious on red shrimps. Le Trebbiane, softer and rounder than the previous year and elegant and complex tones, is excellent on salads and bruschetta. The Villa Magra maintains its elegant and spicy finish, which makes it the ideal dressing for tartare, carpacci and risotto. The Villa Magra Grand Cru, our Frantoio monocultivar, stands out for its excellent structure, is fresh and elegant on the nose and has the classic persistence of notes of black pepper on the finish, a note of honor on soups and red meats. Moraiolo, which has fortunately found the ideal climatic conditions to express itself at its best, offers an oil with fresh, herbaceous aromas and a harmonious but decisive flavor, ideal on legumes’ soup.