We’re spoiled in Northern California and we know it.
We often take for granted the abundance at our finger tips, from glorious produce year-round to stellar wines to luscious olive oils.
Rutherford’s Round Pond Estate in the Napa Valley makes the most of all of that, crafting wines from 357 acres of vineyards, vinegars from Cabernet and Merlot grapes, syrups from its orchards of citrus, and oils from imported Mediterranean olive trees.
Recently, I had a chance to try its 2014 estate olive oils pressed in a state-of-the-art mill, one of only two olive oil mills in the Napa Valley.
The Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from such varieties as Leccino, Pendolino, Maurino, Frantoio and Coratina. It’s a quite full-bodied oil that really announces itself with abundant richness. It would be wonderful drizzled over a pasta dish to finish it or to give oomph to any green salad.
The Blood Orange Olive Oil, made with organic citrus, is sweetly fragrant. The orange taste is smooth and delicate. I envision baking with it or pouring it over soft-serve.
The Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, made by crushing organic Meyer lemon peels, exhibits a subtle floral note characteristic of this prized lemon. It would be great brushed over slices of Meyer lemon pound cake that have been grilled. Or spooned over an asparagus salad with hard-cooked eggs.
My favorite just might be the Lemon Pepper Olive Oil. It’s bright and punchy from lemons and black pepper. Citrusy and spicy, it’s truly hard to stop eating. I could happily dip wedges of bread into this all day long.
Mini 50ml bottles of the oils are $9, while a 370ml bottle is $34 to $36 for all but the Lemon Pepper Olive Oil, which comes in a 250ml bottle for $18.
The olive oils are available online. Or visit the estate, where you can also take in tastings and tours of the olive mill by appointment at an extra fee.