May 3, 2011


Filed under: News — burke @ 5:26 pm


Continuum Estate olive trees,  May 2011

Continuum Estate olive trees, May 2011

One of the great things about Continuum Estate is that it grows more than great wine. I mean for most wineries that would be enough and, yes, we are incredibly grateful for the superior quality Cabernet family fruit which grows so very well here in the red, rocky clay soils of the Vaca Range. Yet, in addition, we quite happily enjoy a second harvest which, while not as abundant, is just as delicious. I am referring to the compelling and quite rare extra virgin olive oil grown at our estate.  2010 marks the third bottling of the Continuum EVO and many of us believe that it is the best yet. How do we do it? Well first of all we start with a good number of trees, 543 to be exact. These olive trees are planted on different parts of the estate, some around the barn and guest house, others higher up closer to the proposed winery site. Our olive trees come in 3 different flavors, French, Italian and Spanish, and were planted at various times though most were planted in 1991-93.
The Spanish trees are a variety of mission variety, many of which were originally brought to California by the Catholic fathers in the 18th and 19th century. These olives tend to be medium sized and darker in color and have a distinctive flavor of chlorophyll with a decidedly buttery texture making for luscious oil with a bit of a bite.  Just a sixth of the estate olive trees are planted to these so-called Mission varieties.
The French varieties, Picholine predominantly, originally from Provence are more extensive at a third of the plantings on the estate. These have a pretty fresh mushroom like aroma but are rather pungent with a greater degree of bitterness than either the Mission or the Italian varieties. On their own they can be too strong but in a blend their distinct character is brought into balance.
Finally, we have our Italian varieties with a wide variety of trees planted including Frontaio, Sevillano and Pendolino clones. Some of these varieties are Tuscan while others are found further south, some from as far away as North Africa. These trees provide over half of the production and, not surprisingly, the final blend has a distinctly Italian flavor profile. This oil is quite rich with an earthy green color and lush flavor and texture. The nose has a lovely floral note of violet and nasturtium blossoms.

When all these varieties are blended together, a fabulous oil results….. Our 2010 Continuum Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a deep golden green in color with aromas of fresh mown hay, mint and new spring vegetables. On the palate, the oil is rich and sensual with a touch of green tea and white pepper. The finish is wonderfully balanced: buttery, smooth and complex.

It really is not only the best oil we have made; it is one of the best oils we have ever tasted. Unfortunately, with less than an acre of trees, we are not able to produce very much oil. We suggest that you use it sparingly on seasonal cooked or raw foods before serving. Enjoy it later this summer with fresh, ripe tomatoes or drizzle it over just grilled steak or savor it with toasted crostini topped with fresh mozzarella.  After you have tasted this golden green oil, we know you will enjoy this second harvest from Continuum Estate just as much as we do.

Buon appetito!

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