Our harvest and milling crews have been working flat out since the fourth week of October, gathering olives and crushing them into extra virgin olive oil. Within a matter of days, a carefully selected batch of that oil will be used to make our most prized oil: Limited Reserve extra virgin olive oil. (To be notified of its availability and get free shipping, click here to join our VIP Mailing List.)
We expect to begin bottling our Limited Reserve within the next couple of weeks.
Limited, as we call it, is the freshest oil we make. It goes straight into the bottle, without spending any time in a tank where fruit particles are allowed to settle and be removed. We bottle Limited just once a year – so it’s availability is limited.
“This is our most special oil,” our Master Miller Bob Singletary says. Bob oversees the process of selecting which batch of oil we’ll use to make each year’s bottling of Limited. “I’m looking for a fresh fruit and grassiness up front, and complexities in the middle,” he adds.
Like fall, this oil is fleeting. Its eight-month shelf life is less than half that of our other oils, because the leftover fruit particles in these bottles ultimately ferment. When you put a spoonful of Limited Reserve in your mouth, you taste a “burst” of fresh olive fruitiness, followed by a pleasant peppery tickle in your throat. (To be notified of its availability and get free shipping, click here to join our VIP Mailing List.)
In our kitchen, we use Limited in countless ways. We drizzle it over roasted Brussels sprouts and root vegetables as well as sautéed broccoli. We use it to dip good, crusty bread. We add it to puréed carrots. We use it to make garlickly pasta sauce that showcases this very special oil. Basically, we let our culinary imagination run wild.
Here’s a look at how we make our Limited Reserve, and what makes it special:
MILLING PROCESS:To craft Limited Reserve each fall, we harvest our olives and then quickly press them to preserve their freshness. We process the resulting olive paste in a centrifuge to separate the oil from the water and sediment. Bob Singletary tastes each batch of oil as it flows from the centrifuge spout.
SELECTION PROCESS:After he’s tasted all the oil, Bob selects several of the best oils and we’ll conduct a blind tasting at our mill in Artois. Our management team taste and grade each oil. We swirl, sniff, slurp, and swallow the oil, analyzing the aroma and flavor profile. We talk. And then we settle on the particular oil that becomes Limited Reserve.
BOTTLING: Right after we select the oil our milling team turns on the bottling line and starts bottling Limited Reserve. It’s November. By contrast, we typically start bottling our other oils the following March or so.
COLOR: Very dark green. When you hold the bottle up you can see the sediment that’s escaped the centrifuge.
OTHER NOTABLE POINT: Our Limited Reserve differs from similar oils shipped from Europe. Ours hasn’t been sitting on a boat for four to six weeks.
USES: Great drizzled over roasted and grilled vegetables as well as butternut squash soup. Also good drizzled on bruschetta, white pizza, or tossed with pasta and garlic. Perfect for dipping crusty bread accompanied by a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Try drizzled over poached eggs.
Your friends at California Olive Ranch