This extra virgin olive oil is made from two varietals unique to Sardinia: Bosana and Semidana. Although the fruit isn't certified organic, no sprays are used on the trees. The olives are handpicked, then pressed within twenty-four hours using a continuous process press.
This oil has a fresh aroma, like a spring meadow, with some toffee and wine notes. The pizzica (pepperiness) is more of the red pepper you taste in the typical oils of Puglia than the black pepper in Tuscan oils. Montalbo is great for salads, grilled meats and full-flavored fish like tuna, swordfish and mackerel. The light red pepper flavors match nicely with fregula sarda or other small pasta tossed with—you guessed it—pepper, either freshly ground black or red.
The latest vintage, picked and pressed in 2011, is much more assertive than the 2010 harvest. This oil is quite astringent and more than a bit peppery, leaving my mouth dry and my throat tingling long after I've swallowed. The aroma is like broccoli with a little black pepper.