The year 2014 was, as you well know, disastrous for olive oil in Italy, and in particular, in the Maremma. Production was almost zero due to both the highest rainfall in fifty years and the resulting “olive fruit fly” infestation and the flood that hit our area right at the beginning of harvest, stripping the olive trees of any remaining fruit.
On the farm, we were subsequently forced to pay extra attention to the agronomic management of our olive groves with prevention our constant objective, and nature generously compensated us with a wonderful harvest in 2015.
At the Maliosa Farm, our olive groves are located in a low hill area where the 2015 winter has been rather mild. However, the beginning of spring, especially in March, brought extreme temperature changes. Luckily, La Maliosa’s historical olive grove is sheltered by the Montecavallo hill, which protected it from the changes in temperature and permitted more regular vegetative growth and flowering. This once again emphasises just how adept our territory is for growing olives.
After flowering and fruit set (the training of young fruitlets) took place in June, a very hot summer arrived, especially at first (from late June to early August) with temperatures constantly above the norm.
The positive side of these temperatures was that they contained the olive fruit fly attacks, but the soil’s water supply suffered terribly, endangering fruit growth and encouraging the olive pit to harden, which can lead, during crushing, to deterioration in organoleptic characteristics.
Fortunately, from mid-August until late autumn, Montecavallo experienced periodic rain that paved the way for a regular cycle of maturity and only a few plants didn’t recover from the water stress. We chose not to harvest the olives from these plants, thus avoiding compromising the quality of our oils.
With the drop in average temperatures and increased humidity, we monitored for possible olive fruit fly attacks daily. Motivated by the damage caused by this insect in the previous season, our attention was upmost to protect and guarantee the quality of our product. These checks enabled us to make better and proactive biological treatments. Getting healthy olives at harvest was our first objective, the first important step, since the quality of our extra virgin olive oil depends primarily on the characteristics of our olives, that is, their ripeness and health.
Picking olives for oil, just like grapes for wine, is a critical time. It’s when you try to give the oil the best result from both an organoleptic point of view and from a health standpoint. The timeliness of picking the olives from the plant at the perfect ripeness and the proper, however brief, conservation of the olives before pressing are indispensable factors at this phase. Our farm has a wealth of 10-12 varieties, each with different maturation stages. Thus we monitored, from September onwards, their evolution in terms of maturity to ensure we were ready to collect at the right time for each cultivar.
We started picking in mid-October, in succession, first the Leccino (early but contemporaneous maturation of olives) then the Pendolino, Maurino and Moraiolo (medium-early). In late October, we went to pick the later varieties such as the Frantoio (non-contemporaneous ripening of olives on the trees). Finally after the first week of November, we gathered late varieties like the Leccio del Corno and other varieties present in a small percentage, but which enrich the complexity of taste and smell of our oil. Harvesting is done by hand with facilitators and the olives are quickly removed from the nets and placed in special air boxes that aren’t filled to the top and are kept in the shade to await transportation to the mill, sometimes even twice a day.
Our chosen mill, which has a dedicated processing line for organic groves, worked all stages at a temperature below 27°c, which is considered to be a “cold” oil extraction, which maintains the characteristics of the valuable molecules.
Following an analysis, which was carried out promptly after the pressing, we wanted to highlight the remarkable nutritional qualities of La Maliosa’s 2015 extra virgin olive oil, which stands outs for its:
- High level of monounsaturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fats consumed in the right amounts and in place of other fats (saturated and trans fats) improve cardiovascular risk parameters. They act on fats in the blood, mainly cholesterol and triglycerides, lowering both. More precisely, they lower “bad cholesterol”, but increase “good cholesterol”.
- Very high level of antioxidants in the form of:
Tocopherols (Vitamin E): La Maliosa extra virgin olive oil contains significant amounts of vitamin E, one of the most important fat antioxidants. This, together with the quality of the unsaturated acids, almost all of which are monounsaturated, i.e. with one unsaturation, provide high resistance to weather, heat and light damage.
- Concentration of polyphenols
The higher the concentration of polyphenols in an oil, the better its organoleptic qualities and health benefits. Besides being responsible for the typical taste of an oil, they’re also responsible for the improved resistance of plasma LDL (lipoproteins that carry cholesterol bad) to oxidative damage, thus providing additional benefits against cardiovascular risk. They are therefore a very important index of the quality of the oil because they give it the characteristics of bitter and spicy and are natural antioxidants that protect both the oil and human cells from oxidation.
- Great levels of all other analytical data:
Acidity: 0.18% oleic acid; well under the limit of 0.8% prescribed by national legislation. This is a sign of a correct chain; a necessary condition for demonstrating the high quality of the oil and an indication of the health of the olives;
Number of peroxides: 3.5 meq O2 / kg; a very low value that indicates the degree of oxidation in the oil and its tendency to turn rancid;
UV Spectrophotometric examination: K232-K270-Delta K; very low values. The spectrophotometric analysis highlights the refining processes or phenomena of oxidation and aging in the oil. An increase in the K232 shows a primary oxidation with the formation of peroxides; an increase in the K270 shows a secondary oxidation with the formation of aldehydes and ketones.
La Maliosa extra virgin olive oil – A blend of Tuscan cultivars
Available in two types:
Tin 3 LT.
Bottle 0.25 LT.
La Maliosa Leccio del Corno – monocultivar
0.25 lt bottle