Badia a Coltibuono
In 1985 two wine journalists decided they had some time on their hands and started The Tuscan Olive Oil Advisory Board. They organized what was thought to be the UK’s first Press olive oil tasting, and it was there we met Lorenza de’ Medici and her husband Pierro Stucchi Prinetti, owners of “The Abbey of the Good Harvest”, Badia a Coltibuono. She asked us if we would distribute their oil, one of the first to be promoted outside Italy.
Some years later they met me at my office in Brook Green, prior to a lunch at The River Café. All went well until the taxi I had booked did not appear. The van was outside; I drove, Lorenza in the passenger seat, Piero in the back, in the dark, sitting on a box of oil. Despite the inauspicious start, it was a very good lunch. Now we are happy to deal with their daughter Emanuela and son Roberto.
Their trees were very badly affected by the severe frosts in 1985, and so for their house oil Cultus Boni, they buy in some oil to supplement their own supplies.
Their two estate-grown-and-bottled oils, Albereto and Campo Corto, are certified organic. Podere Albareto is a small area of groves situated at an altitude of 450 metres, with trees of the Frantoio and Leccino varieties along with smaller quantities of Moraiolo and Maurino. Production is very limited; for example, in 2010 each tree yielded less than half a litre of oil, and even in a good year the producers do not expect much more than one litre from each of their 7000 trees. The Campo Corto is made exclusively from the Frantoio variety of olive, in groves that are completely surrounded by the ancient Coltibuono woodlands. The annual production averages a mere 2,500 bottles.