The Montecucchi Estate is situated on the southern hills surrounding Florence, outside Ponte a Ema, in the county of Bagno a Ripoli.
It lies on the route of an ancient roman road called “Via di Fattucchia” or “Road of the Sorceress”, an area which, in the folk tales, has always been believed to have magical attributes. That is the land that has belonged to our family for generations and it is home to some of the oldest olive trees of the area. Some of these ancient plants have been producing olives, and oil, since before the days of the Medici, Leonardo and Michelangelo. Montecucchi is the place where I was born and where we still live today, as a family, caring for our land. We grow most of the fruit and vegetables we consume and living in accordance with nature is a fundamental part of our philosophy.
OUR OLIVE TREES
Olive trees (Olea Europaea) are amongst the longest living plants on earth, some dating back thousands of years. It is a strong and hardy plant that grows slowly through the passage of seasons, for its entire life.
Its family is composed of many varieties, each one thriving in different climates and producing a different quality of olive oil.
Our trees are of the Morellino and Frantoiano varieties. The most well adapted to the Tuscan territory and climate. Ours have lived here for centuries. Through all the cold winters and lovely springs, through hot, arid summers and glorious autumns, when the first cold of the year marks the beginning of the harvest season.
Ours is a single estate, extra virgin olive oil. This means that is pressed solely from olives grown here and nothing is ever brought in to bulk up the production.
The trees of the Morello and Frantioiano varieties are renown for producing a distinctive olive oil with a very strong, fruity and spicy aroma which is in part due to its high content of antioxidants and vitamins. Our estate is sun soaked and south facing, it also benefits from cold north easterly winds in late October and early November just when the olives need a cold snap before the harvest.
The earlier the olives are picked the more pungent the aromas will be, the later they are picked the more oil they will yield. Time for harvesting as you see is crucial, particularly as the two varieties that grow on our land mature at slightly different moments, when and from which tree to start picking is a decision of a life long experience. We respect our trees and still harvest the olives by hand without the use of any mechanical aids. Over all these years we have established a relationship of trust and friendship with our pickers and most of them, as in the old days, still want to be paid in olive oil for their work. This is a wonderful indicator to the continuing importance of olive oil within our local community.
The olives are then processed within the day through cold pressing, leaving all its precious nutritional elements intact.