We're really excited about this very special olive oil from Italy's Gurrieri. The specific olive varietal is called Tonda Iblea, which is native to the southeast corner of Sicily. The Monti Iblei mountains (where Gurrieri is located) rose from the Mediterranean about 2 million years ago, which is why this region is full of huge rock formations, canyons, and, of course, calcareous soil that yields very elegant wines and olive oil! Because of these mountains and their proximity to the ocean, there is a nice day-to-night temperature variation, making it a perfect region for both wine and olive oil.
According to Sicilian tradition (and now the rules of the production zone) the olives are hand-harvested and manually sorted. Within 48 hours of harvest, they are cold pressed with a simple press and without chemical manipulation. This process preserves the total nutritional value of the oil while also conserving the aromas and unmistakable flavors that can only come from Sicily!
Gurrieri is a family of true farmers. Vincenza and his wife Maria Grazia have been farming their entire lives, primarily as table grape farmers. They have about 20 acres of vines, called uva italico. They have always made wine and olive oil for family consumption but began bottling and created the Gurrieri "brand" within the last 10 years. Their son Giovanni handles the marketing and communication side of the business, allowing his parents to stay home in their element. Even today, in their 80s, this couple is up before the sun on a daily basis working their vineyards.
This oil is particularly intense, especially given the fact that Giovanni's father likes to harvest when the fruit is still not quite ripe, yielding a nice contrast of sweet and spicy flavors with very little bitterness.
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