PEDREGAL NAPA VALLEY EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

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From the Spanish for "rocky place," this olive grove is located on the eastern side of Napa Valley near Oakville on a steep, rocky hill. I met the owner, Ralph Mendelson, at an olive oil producers class at UC Davis over 10 years ago.

The property includes a mixture of Manzanillo, Frantoio, Pendolino, Leccino and Maurino olives, for a total of about 70 trees. Because of the difficult terrain, these olives are picked by hand.

Pedregal is a balanced oil with a strong grassy aroma. It is mildly bitter, with a characteristic peppery finish. Perfect on roasted vegetables or fresh pasta sprinkled with freshly-grated Parmigiano cheese.

 

Characteristics:  Grassy upfront with mild pungency

Tasting Bar Position:  3

Method of Production:  Blade Press.  McEvoy Ranch Petaluma, CA

Total Production:  10 gallons

Harvest Date:  November 2013

Press Date:  November 2013

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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