One of our most robust, full-flavored oils, Epstein Family is pressed from a blend of Manzanillo and Mission olives organically grown and hand-harvested in the western hills of Napa Valley. Joey and Judy Epstein began searching for land to grow olives in California after being inspired by the Tuscan home of their friend Frances Mayes, author of the renowned memoir "Under the Tuscan Sun."
The Epsteins' estate now includes about 60 trees, which produce this golden oil with a grassy aroma, an intense fruitiness and a peppery finish -- a great example of what a California extra virigin olive oil can be. Drizzle over grilled steak and warm potatoes for an Italian-style meal, or use as a dipping oil for fresh foccacia.
Characteristics: Intense fruitiness with a strong pepper finish...the biggest oil of the year!
Tasting Bar Position: 6
Method of Production: Blade Press. Olivino Hopland, CA
Total Production: 100 gallons
Harvest Date: November 24, 2012
Press Date: November 25, 2012
In our store in St. Helena we have a tasting bar where you can walk through a tasting of all of our oils. To try to bring that experience to you virtually, we are ranking the oils in order of their taste.
In evaluation of an extra virgin olive oil, you look for three positive characteristics:
A. Fruitiness - smell and taste - descriptors are mowed lawn, alfalfa, artichoke, etc.....
B. Bitterness - taste only - makes you grimace....as in a bitter lettuce.
C. Pungency - taste only - burn in your throat...described as "peppery". Attributed to higher levels of polyphenols which are antioxidants.
The order on the bar from the lightest to the "biggest" are as follows:
1. Hawks Feather Blade Press EVOO - More buttery style oil with slight pungency
2. Stagecoach Italian Varietal EVOO - light fruitiness with a mild pungent finish
3. Pedregal Italian Varietal EVOO - grassy up front with mild pungency
4. Stagecoach Arbequina EVOO - grassy up front with stronger pungency
5. Olio Nuovo Central Valley EVOO - soft fruitiness with strong pungent finish
6. Epstein Family EVOO - Strong balance of grass, bitterness and pungency....a "big" oil
7. Carneros Italian Varietal EVOO - Slight grassiness with mild bitterness...and a strong pungent finish