Grape harvest fatigue behind us, and with predicted days of clear skies, the equally intense olive harvest starts end November/early December; Douro Valley tradition and when we are convinced at Quinta do Tedo of the balance between spice and ripeness in our fruit. Like our Porto and Douro DOC wines, Quinta do Tedo’s extra virgin olive oil is a blend of varieties - principally cordovil, verdeal, carrasquenha and moleirinha. Be it our olive oil, Porto and Douro DOC red wines, the inherent complexity, thanks to a blend of varieties, is what we believe in at Quinta do Tedo.
Our 800 olive trees - between 50 and 100 years old - are “survivors” – drought tolerant and so hardy. Planted on rugged, arid, steep slopes, to be present during the picking is impressive; how the fruit is harvested with nets propped underneath to prevent the prized olives from heading down to our Tedo river. Long days with strong and long wooden “beaters” in hand, our workers are proud and concentrated as they work, climbing on heavy branches and scrambling to reap the bounty; time is of the essence.
Fact: there are no olive trees that ripen to only green olives! The riper the olive the darker the color, be it a grass green olive with hints of mauve to deeper purple tones with ripening; to a dark green; to a dark purple-almost-turned-black color, depending on the variety. The riper the harvested olive the more extracted olive oil during pressing, the greener the harvested olive the spicier and greener will be the olive oil with reduced quantity. At Quinta do Tedo we are not looking for a spicy piquant olive oil, but one that complements our Portuguese cuisine, known for full flavor, and asking for another bite. Our customers love our olive oil for an intense fruity yet mellow spice, a perfect bitterness and a long finish (length in the mouth is similar to descriptors for wine!).
The beginning of the ripening process.
Curiously, when the grape harvest starts, usually in September, the olive fruit starts to “pop” in color, almost a reminder to not be forgotten when we are so consumed with the grape harvest. During the harvest, with a couple of rains, the olives’ growth in size takes off, and the subsequent ripening is a beauty to watch. As you can read, I am passionate about our olives.
Be it the blue sky or whatever, love the contrast of the green olives not even starting to ripen earlier in the year!