Virtually every great meal I’ve ever had has involved, at least in some measure, wine and olive oil.
The right olive oil can have a tremendous impact on the flavor and overall hedonistic perception of food. And when the right food is paired with the right wine… well, life doesn’t get much better.
Badia a Coltibuono — a Tuscan estate specializing in fine wine and olive oil — is about a thousand years old, although its prehistory goes back to Estrucan times.
As it’s known today, Badia a Coltibuono (which means “Abbey of the Good Harvest”) dates from the middle of the 11th century. In 1051, the monks of the Vallombrosan Order, a Tuscan reform of the Benedictines, founded the Abbey and began planting the first vineyards in the Upper Chianti area. In 1810, when Tuscany was under Napoleonic rule, the monks were forced to leave Coltibuono, and the monastery was secularized.
In 1846, Coltibuono was bought by Guido Giuntini, a Florentine banker and great grandfather of Piero Stucchi-Prinetti, the present owner. Under the guidance of Piero, the estate grew and built a solid reputation through the high quality of its products.
A star among those products is an extra-virgin olive oil named “Albereto.” A small section of the estate’s olive groves — those at Podere Albereto — is dedicated to the production of this special oil, made annually in limited quantities.
It is produced from several varieties of olives, principally Frantoio, Pendolino and Leccino, along with smaller quantities of Moraiolo and Maurino.
The groves are cultivated using organic farming methods, and the olives are pressed daily after harvesting in order to obtain a fresh product and to prevent any alteration to the taste and bouquet.
“Albereto” is intense green emerald in hue, and is coveted by olive oil lovers in Tuscany and beyond.