Sant’Antonio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Production and sale of Tuscan extra virgin olive oil Production and location: Sant'Antonio Country Resort is situated 600 to 640 meters above sea level in Montepulciano, Tuscany - excellent conditions for full flavoured extra virgin olive oil all of which is produced from over 1600 trees that surround our property.
Tree varieties: Moraiolo, Correggiolo, Leccino with Maurino and Pendolino pollinators.
Ground composition: Predominately “tufaceo” - Clay.
Planting and training: Traditional single free standing trees planted 6 meters equal distance allowing for complete free wind flow and for tractors to work 360 degrees around the tree.
Trimming of branches: February and March. Removal of new shoots – throughout the year.
Picking: Handpicked from around the 1st of November to mid December depending on weather conditions.
Pressing: Pressed in a continuous cold press within 36 hours of picking maintaining all natural flavours and contents that the olive is able to produce.
Storage: Our extra virgin olive oil is stored in sealed Stainless steel tanks in cool underground cellars.
Filtering: Natural decanting with cotton filtering.
Packaging and containers: Half litre and 1 litre darkened glass bottles. 3 litre and 5 litre stainless steels cans.
From our trees to your table
Over the years Tuscan olive oil, like our wines, have become more popular and have captivated a world wide market.
Why? I personally believe that when creating a product – what ever your creation may be, if you strive for the highest quality and use quality then you will be able to produce quality – of course with the help of the weather and correct geographical climate.
Our fascination of eating and drinking well in Italy has been seen and experienced by other countries for generations. Most of our cuisine and wines are “simple and real” for which olive oil is a major contribution if produced well and according to the proper criteria.
The skills and experience required to produce extra virgin olive oils is as complex as that of making wine. Similar to producing wines, most good extra virgin olive oils are blended from several olive varieties to assure consistency of a quality product on a yearly basis and to try and provide a uniform and distinctive character.
Of course, how you harvest the olives and choosing the timing to pick is crucial. I personally discuss the latter with my neighbour who has been producing olive oil from our land for over 70 years and who I have the luck to learn from.
Deciding factors on quality depends on the type of olives, how they have been pruned, the altitude of the trees, micro climate, precipitation, wind and how the weather has influenced the degree of ripeness, similar to grape production.
At Sant’ Antonio we prefer to hand pick. A labour intensive technique to harvest but the best and only method to prevent bruising and control of quality.
Bruised olives begin instantly to ferment and oxides producing a high acid oil. At taste which is commonly found in cheaper brands or “industrial” supermarket chain olive oils.
The traditional press: After harvesting the olives are processed. To obtain high quality we press within 24 to 36 hours after picking and place our olives in containers with a maximum amount of 20 kilos per container - preventing the olives crushing under their own weight.
In the traditional press - the olives are crushed into a paste by two huge vertical granite wheels. The olive paste is spread on large fibre or nylon disks, layered one on top of the other, ten to twelve high, with a steel plate placed between every 2 to 3 disks and squeezed by a hydraulic press yielding a mixture of olive oil and water extracted from the olives.
We prefer the more modern press and use the following for our production which guarantees better quality as at times the large disks or granite wheels contain extracts of paste which is not cleaned off properly leaving acid residue and taste which will be passed onto the next batch of olives that go through the same process.
The continuous cycle press - what we use at Sant’ Antonio
Basically, the olives go in one end and this “wonderful nectar” the extra virgin olive oil comes out the other. This more modern technique washes and cleans the olives, separates any leafs that may be in the containers mixed with the olives and uses a centrifuges which is a more efficient process.
The oil is separated from the “olive” water and transferred into stainless steel containers.
Traditionally large terra-cotta urns called "orci" were used however most of these have been taken over by stainless steel containers – the best of which are temperature controlled and ones where air can be removed to store and preserve the olive oil in its best manner.
Oil from this pressing qualifies as extra virgin olive oil and must contain less than 1% acidity.
On average the amount of oil produced from the olive is between 13% to 18% of the total weight, therefore 100 kilos of olives will produce between 13 to 18 kilos depending on the year.
No heat or chemicals are used in this method.
Before bottling the oil is usually filtered through either cotton or cellulose preferable filtered through natural force of gravity and not pumped.
Unlike wine, olive oil does not get better as it ages and is best when tastes “freshly off the press” - however you will need to come and stay at Sant’ Antonio in mid November to taste this wonderful natural product.
Anyway a closed bottle kept in a cool, dark place should remain in good condition for about 2 to 3 years after date of purchase and once opened it should be used up since the flavour will deteriorate over time.
Our extra virgin olive oil is made from both green and black olives that produce an oil with a distinctive peppery taste. The cool climate in this region ensures that olives ripen slowly and are full of flavour.
Once bottled we suggest that bottles are sealed and stored in a cool dark place and used within 2 years of bottling. Light and heat are the number 1 enemy of olive oil and the oil will go rancid when exposed to air (oxygen), light or high temperatures such as direct sun light when eating outdoors! oil bottling, Sant' Antonio oil, extra virgin olive oil
The greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, and it is a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet.
Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit.
The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad or negative") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good or positive" cholesterol) levels.
No other naturally produced vegetable, cereal or nut oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil.
Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach and its protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis.
Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed pharmaceutical drugs and as a result, it lowers the occurrence of gallstone formation.
Olive oil and heart disease
Studies have shown that people who consumed about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood system.
However while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, extra virgin olive oil from the first pressing contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.
Extra virgin Olive Oil is clearly the best of all edible oils.
Types of olive oil:
Extra Virgin: Highest quality, made from the first pressing of the olives.
Virgin: made from the second pressing.
Pure: undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining.
Extra light: undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.
extra virgin oil highest quality, mild olive flavour
Sant'Antonio Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil