Artist and farmer, Michael Zyw, crafted both the extra virgin olive oil and the label. It’s a pencil sketch, a study in grays and whites. The oil is equally complex, but, by contrast, is also much more colorful. It has much of the bold pepperiness and flavor of fresh cut grass and artichoke that are hallmarks of Tuscan oil, but as is often the case the location near the sea seems to bring a nice softness to the mix. Where the oils from the Tuscan center are far more aggressive, the oils from the coast are mellow, more mature perhaps in their presence. The Lamentano starts big, softens a bit midway through and finishes with a meaningful but moderate amount of pepper. The flavor, I suppose, is not unlike one of Michael Zyw's paintings—layers of colors, complex, caring, a lot of work and a bit of a beauty in the world.
The oil is unfiltered which I always believe helps enhance the complexity of the flavor. I've been eating the Poggio Lamentano on the Martelli family's spaghetti
, on fresh mozzarella, on simple salads of arugula with a bit of grated Tuscan pecorino cheese
, a few chopped hazelnuts and a bit of roasted red pepper. Definitely great with beans. I've used it to finish off a few fish stews to great effect. Excellent for dipping steamed artichoke leaves. And of course, maybe it's best at its most basic—poured liberally (and of course colorfully) onto toasted Farm
or Paesano breads
from our Bakehouse. A taste of Tuscany, a bit of history, a lot of art, a whole lot of good flavor all in one nicely labeled bottle.
The 2015 harvest is sharp and punchy. It has a bright aroma that reminds me of green banana, citrus pith, and freshly-cut grass. The flavor is wild, spicy, with a swift kick of pepper that spreads all over the mouth and even up the nose a bit. It would be outstanding poured over a steak or on top of grilled vegetables or garlicky wilted greens.