Chianti Classico DOP olive oil 2014: the right moment to ponder prospects for quality olive growing

The Chianti Classico DOP Olive Oil Consortium presents the FIZONACLASSICO project

 February 17, 2015 – It’s common knowledge by now that 2014 was a truly difficult year for the olive-growing world. All of olive production in the Mediterranean basin was harmed, not solely in Italy. In Spain the drought destroyed nearly half of the harvest; in Italy the cold weather during blossoming time and the humid heat during ripening favored olive fly infestation and caused much of the fruit to fall from the trees; in Greece bad weather at harvest time also cut the crop in half and the only country with abundant output was Morocco.

In Chianti Classico territory many growers decided not to pick their olives while others succeeded in carefully selecting them to bring home a product with the highest quality permitted by a very tough year.

 The 2014 Chianti Classico DOP olive oil will be less in quantity but in line with the quality standards dictated by production regulations: scents of grass-olive-almond and artichoke, medium-intense, non-persistent bitterness and a piquant finale of aromatic herbs, arugula and chili pepper leaving the palate clean.

Even the darkest clouds have silver linings”, states Carlo Salvadori, president of the Chianti Classico DOP Olive Oil Consortium.This year’s harsh experience has made us think about the need to change the status quo and whether or not it is possible to make our olive-growing a resource that is worth continuing to invest in. To do so we have to really examine the particularities of our territory and create a modern method of growing olives that respects these characteristics.”

 The FIZONACLASSICO project created by the Chianti Classico DOP Olive Oil Consortium in the context of an integrated production project is aimed at developing an innovative tool making it possible to get an exact description of the four Chianti Classico olive production zones from the geological and micro-climatic standpoints, integrating this information with data on past weather time series, land register references, aerial photos of the olive-growing terrains and the chemical characteristics of the oils analyzed from 2000 on.

 The study was conducted for 18 months, concluding at the end of 2014 – now considered an annus horribilis for oil production – and towards the end arrived at absolutely innovative results putting the Consortium in the forefront in terms of originality and efficacy of the system used.

While this profiling may recall the concept of terroir used grape-growing “colleagues” there is an important difference: the distinction between olive-growing zones is not on the basis of their merit but on their differing characteristics in order to help olive growers make better-targeted technical decisions.

The aim is to provide the greatest amount of information possible to help olive growers in their work so they will always be able to produce that famous “Chianti Classico gold” in all its splendor.