Outside our cellar the almond tree has burst into flower; the bees are buzzing and the air is noisy with the excitement brought by the Spring equinox.
In the vineyard all is quiet though and we must wait a little longer for our vines to bud and flower. As we wait, we savour the fruits of our most recent harvest – olive oil from the ancient tree in Saint Andéol.
Olive trees prefer full sun and well draining soil and the conditions at Saint Andéol are ideal – a south / south west facing plot of ‘saffre’ (compressed sandy limestone) into which the roots of our single olive tree can extend deep into the ground.
In November, well over a month after our grapes were safely harvested the olives were just starting to ripen; turning from green to black.
By the 3rd of December they were ready to harvest.This year the task was left to Benjamin; balancing on the trees’ ancient trunk he shook each branch until the ripe olives fell to onto a sheet on the ground to be collected.
The olives were taken to the local olive oil co-operative to be pressed.The resulting oil is only very lightly filtered and, unlike commercial olive oil, has a slightly cloudy appearance.
Not simply ‘single estate’ our precious ‘single tree ‘olive oil is bottled and labelled by hand back at our Cairanne cellar.