NOVEMBER 2021 - OIL MAKER'S NOTES
Robust, vibrant and flavoursome, this year’s range celebrates our 23rd annual harvest and a return to a focus on our traditional single variety cultivars, such as Romanza, Kurunba, Leccino, Koroneiki, Kalamata and Premium - all of which, share the limelight, as the stars of our 2021 range.
2021, was a cyclical, 'high production 'on-year' at the farm, with a bumper crop.
We started right back in March, due to an extended summer and earlier ripening periods, and also experienced some sudden cold snaps and challenges, along the way. In contrast to 2020, the result has been a greater yield of larger, flavoursome fruit parcels, including more of our robust varieties, as mentioned above.
As we hand-picked from March through to July, the increased yields and cooler, ripening conditions, resulted in stronger flavour development, when compared with warmer years and a bounty of more herbaceous, peppery and intense, ’extra-flavoured oils.
We think that our organic, varietal oils are outstanding this year - of particular note, is the Kurunba (featuring our French olive cultivar Bouteillan)
Thanks to our Team
Like everywhere across WA, we faced some challenges with labour shortages, along the way. However, our small and dedicated team (which changed over the months) proudly flew their respective home flags of Italy, France, UK and South America - and did a fantastic job in picking the entire 320 acre property - by hand, over the harvest duration. We extend our sincere thanks to all of our pickers during the 2021 season and to our entire Olio Bello team.
Olio Nuovo Harvest Release (June '21)
This year, we crafted and released three Olio Nuovo (Liquid Gold) oils for our loyal customers, which was savoured and enjoyed by all. These featured:
- Correggiola (Italy)
- Bouteillan (France)
- WA Mission (New Norcia WA - via Spain).
All of these oils, are all medium to robust in flavour and have a characteristic 'bitterness' on the tongue, at first, and a peppery finish - when swallowed. This demonstrates, the very nature of a high quality, and flavoursome olive oil.
Once fully settled, our Olio Nuovo (liquid gold) oils, were used to craft and blend this season's collection. When blending and planning our range, the diversity and foresight in the original planting of the olive trees, provides us great flexibility and creative options, at the time of oil making.
These were impressive oils as Liquid Gold - so we hope you enjoy their flavour and integrity, as stand-alone new season oils, or in the blending of our full collection range for 2021.
Storage and Settling Process
Following pressing, our new oil (Olio Nuovo) was stored in a carefully controlled temperature controlled storage facility for approximately 3 months to settle and clarify. The traditional and pressed estate oils, and our popular Infused oils, are then crafted and released in our new season collection.
Flavoured Oils and Blending
With this year’s ‘on’ bumper year, harvest has given us the opportunity to develop and craft some outstanding blending oils, for our diverse flavoured range. It’s important that the blended oils are strong enough to be acknowledged or noticed - but do not overpower the subtleties, of our pressed and infused flavours.
For us, the art of blending, is to allow these two components to exist side-by-side, ie: the taste is the flavoured ingredients first and then the base olive oil, follows. This is the ‘art’ of making the infused and pressed oils and makes all the difference.
In 2021, everyone will be happy to see nearly all of our highly popular pressed and infused oils, flowing freely from the farm - including: Lemon, Lime, Five Fruits, Parmesan, Chilli and Garlic, Rosemary & Lime and Roasted Garlic.
Some, however, are only available in 50ml and 500ml bottles - due to smaller olive groves and fruit yields - not to mention the fact that they are more delicate varieties - which ripen early (and are, often, hit hard by the birds earlier in the season). These include: Koroneiki, Arbequina, Leccino and Nevadillo and are all, fantastic this season.
Oil Maker’s Pick 2021
There are so many outstanding oils to choose from, across the range - but for 2021, our Kurunba (predominately the French Bouteillan) is a stand out.
Benefitting from the cooler climate, it’s fresh, herbaceous and fruit driven, not overly pungent or overpowering - and has the advantages of a slower fruit ripening, without it being dominated by too much pepper, or excess pungency. It’s always a great oil, but this year, seems even better!
Also, the Margaret River Premium: a blend of our medium to robust Italian Corregiola, with the more delicate Bouteillan and WA Mission, to soften and round out any hard edges.
Finally, the Koroneiki - which is normally one of our most delicate oils. We picked the fruit earlier this year (to beat the birds) and have achieved some pleasing results, with an extra strength and peppery finish, than other years. It’s definitely, right up there as a surprising favourite, for the season.
In 2021, we have broadened our range of olive varieties, for our table olives. In addition to our popular Kalamata and crunchy Manzanillo olives, we also added Pendolino into the mix. The advantage of the slower ripening period, meant that the spicy Pendolino olives, were available later in the season. We hope that you enjoy the contrasting colours, textures and flavours of our table olives - when released in the coming months. All are rich in antioxidant and nutritional value.
Pieralisi Press - 21 Years Old
Also this year, we are celebrating the 21st birthday of our Pieralisi Italian press, which was brought out on the ship called ‘Romanza’ to Fremantle, from the Marche region of Italy in 2000. Today, the world-leading machine, is still, not only pressing our award winning oil, but we also press for many local growers - and still doing us proud!
When we’re not pressing our own olives in the Pieralisi, we’re very proud to join with all of near neighbours and local growers, to press for the broader community. Once again, Olio Bello pressed over 200 tonnes of olives for external local growers during the season - which equates to over 35,000 litres of oil. It was a great season for everyone and we congratulate all growers across WA and hold the strong collegiate spirit of the olive oil industry in Western Australia, to the highest regard.
As a part of our continuous improvement in sustainable farming, we undertook a new and significant pruning technique methodology, immediately after the completion of harvest in July. This is a part of a strategic two year process, reflects extensive research and has seen a major prune of the entire property. This process will look to maximise yields and improve overall tree health and prosperity - in the years ahead.
New Showcase Oil Dispenser - WA Tourism
During the lockdown of 2020, we applied and were successfully granted funds to purchase a new Italian temperature and light controlled tasting dispenser, similar to the wine industry. The 'Enotec' has just arrived at the farm and installed in time for the launch of our new season collection. It is a first for the olive oil industry and provides a chance to provide a heightened and informative ‘temperature and light controlled’, tasting experience, for our valued customers. We would sincerely like to thank Western Australian Tourism for the opportunity, to showcase our oils, in such a world-class display - and look forward to sharing our new season range, in the coming months.
We thank everyone who has been involved in Harvest 2021. We’re proud to be a part of the WA olive oil industry and to present our ‘Return to Tradition’ collection of olive oil, along with our ongoing commitment to the integrity of the process of sustainable organic farming.
Brett Roberts - Oil Maker + General Manager