Topography of Taste — How Olive Terroir Affects EVOO Flavor


Just as a fine wine reflects the characteristics of the grapes used to make it, olive terroir defines the flavor of authentic EVOO. The geographical area, environment, and soil in which the olives are grown can contribute amazing depth and personality to the taste of a bottle.

Topography of Taste

Originating from the French word meaning “earth” or “soil”, the word terroir has come to describe the unique flavors which arise from the land and conditions in which crops are grown and harvested.

The terroir of olives is strongly affected by climate, soil, and companion plants, as well as other environmental factors — all of which combine to create the unique flavor profiles that define high-quality, authentic EVOO.

How does olive terroir affect taste?

To begin with, there are hundreds of olive varietals. Each has its own unique flavor profile and quality of fruit, and each necessarily thrives in its native environment. Altitude, weather, soil composition, degree of exposure to sun, shade, rainfall, and even nearby plants come to bear on the distinctiveness of a cultivar’s flavor. The subtle notes and unique qualities of the region and environmental conditions in which the olive trees were grown give authentic EVOO its rich, multi-layered complexity.

When trees of the same cultivar are planted in different conditions, they will notably bear fruit with very different sensory qualities. A cultivar grown in its native environment, where it has evolved over millennia, is the deepest possible reflection and expression of its origin.

Italian EVOO is rich with flavor and history.

With some regions in Italy known specifically for the unique flavor and quality of their grapes, the terroir of olives is strongly rooted in origin.

For example, the Coratina olive (named for Corato, Apulia, its place of origin), grows best in the soils and climate of that area. Coratina olives are known for their lush fruity flavor, with notes of fresh grass and bitter almond, and, like other Italian cultivars, they have a high natural concentration of polyphenols (powerful natural antioxidants) which are excellent for health. These nutritional benefits are enhanced in Coratina olives when they are grown in their native environment.

This is one reason why the certification of olive terroir is so important.

<pProtected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical Indicator certification not only verifies origin, so consumers can be assured they’re receiving authentic EVOO, it helps protect the livelihood of the Italian growers and producers who toil to produce an amazing harvest and remarkable EVOO flavor unique to their region. Buyers of PDO or PGI EVOO can rest assured that each bottle truly contains the beneficial qualities and unique terroir for which the region is known.

Every taste of authentic EVOO is rich with history. The terroir of olives is said to be excellent when it is representative of the soil, climate, and traditions of its region of origin. It is only then that we can savor the true story and experience of the olives, allowing us to infuse our own recipes and lives with the authentic flavors of Italy.

Interested in introducing your senses to the delicious, authentic flavors of Italy? Try our Legendary Series. Both our Toscano PGI Organic EVOO and our Sicilia PGI Organic EVOO are certified authentic with the luscious characteristic flavors of their respective areas of origin.

Delight your senses — and pour more Bellucci!

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