Much like the AOC system in winemaking, the DOP system ensures 100% traceability—that the olive oil certified is made from olives grown solely in the region designated. More importantly, the consortium controlling DOP certification develops and administers programs to continuously improve oil quality and ensure that local olive varieties are celebrated and protected. Unlike the New World, where olives originating from anywhere in the world can be grown anyplace, certified DOP olive oil features native cultivars only.
Interestingly, within Umbria there are five subregions, each with its own strictly regulated blend of olives to define the DOP of that geographical area.
The Fiore Estate is part of the area designated Umbria Colli Orvietani, where Moraiolo olives must not exceed 15% of the blend, and Frantoio and Leccino varieties are each allowed to constitute between 30% to 60% of the balance, based on the oil miller’s discretion to achieve the harmony and complexity he seeks for that harvest year. When blending has been completed, the resulting oil must be rated medium-light fruitiness, bitterness and pungency by a sensory panel.
Tonnage, yield, storage and blending are closely monitored by the consortium, which issues a unique set of registered numbers to each producer achieving the DOP criteria. There are no bottomless tanks of oil here! The DOP seal on the neck of each bottle is a unique number assigned by Italy’s Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali (MiPAAF)—Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry policies—ensuring that the olive oil inside is from our Estate and of the harvest year stated on the bottle. Once the bottle gone, the certified numbers are gone, too!