The Regaleali Estate produces Tasca d’Almerita extra virgin olive oil, which is exclusively made with untreated olives from about 4,000 olive trees occupying just over 30 hectares. These plants range in age, however the historic plantation is 22 hectares. The two plots of land cultivated with the Nocellara and Biancolilla varieties are more recent, and the most recent plantation (2011) consists of 3 hectares where the Nocellara Etnea variety is cultivated as a pollinator. For the most part, we cultivate the Nocellara and Biancolilla...
Grape vines and olives have been an integral part of Sicilian nature for at least 3,000 years, and are almost always together - at times they are even combined with each other. This is because in addition to enlightening antiquity and providing man with vegetable calories, the olive is a very strong carrier of a place's flavour and personality, just like wine. This twisted plant has shaped the landscape and food culture of the entire Mediterranean area.
When the cold weather starts to abandon Regaleali in March, the oil can finally be bottled without filtering. This oil is also used here to fry the historic panelle (chickpea fritters) from Case Grandi, and a part of the harvest goes to the cooks who prepare the brine for both green and black table olives.
Moreover, olive cultivation fits in perfectly with the time required to look after the vines: As one bears its fruit, the other is harvested. This way, both wine and olives are ready by December to provide flavour, nutrition and illumination just in time for the onset of winter. Perfect timing.
Our olive trees - some of which are several hundred years old - are cultivated in the traditional way, with years of expert pruning keeping branches low enough for the olives to be harvested more easily.
We hand-pick the fruit over time, spreading nets beneath to catch any olives which fall, and plucking them from the trees only when they are perfectly ripe. The day they are picked, the olives are taken to be cold-pressed at our Valledolmo olive mill.
The oil then stands in large jars over the winter, to allow residue to settle. In March, as the winter draws to a close, we bottle the oil without filtering it. Not all our olives are pressed for oil: some go straight to our cooks who steep them in brine, for excellent black and green eating olives.