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Early Harvest Profiles
Olives reach their full size in the fall but may not fully ripen from green to black until late winter. Green olives have slightly less oil, more bitterness and can be higher in polyphenols. Many people like the peppery and bitter quality of early harvest oil. Flavor notes of grass, green, green leaf, pungent, astringent are used to describe early harvest oils .Because of the higher polyphenols and antioxidants, early harvest oils often have a longer shelf life and are blended with late harvest oils to improve their shelf life.
Late Harvest Profiles
The fruit is picked black and ripe. The fruit may have a little more oil but it is risky because waiting longer into the winter increases the risk the fruit will be damaged by frost. Late harvest or "Winter" fruit is more ripe so like other ripe fruit it has a light, mellow taste with little bitterness and more floral flavors. Flavor notes of peach, melon, apple and banana. Buttery, fruity, smooth, bland and sweet are often used in their sensory description. Because of the lower polyphenols and antioxidants, late harvest oils often have a shorter shelf life.
Not all olive oil is created equal, and certainly not all is created to the high-standards that are required to make extra virgin olive oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil has both negative and positive sensory attributes that are rated on a scale from 1-10 based on their presence in the oil.
3 Positive Attributes:
There are a number of negative sensory attributes that can be associated with EVOO, and all of these deficiencies are related to poor harvesting, processing and/or storage practices.