Long Meadow Ranch Releases 2000 Vintage
Prato Lungo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
July, 2001, St. Helena, CA
The 2000-vintage Prato Lungo ultra premium, extra virgin, estate grown, produced and bottled olive oil has now been released by Long Meadow Ranch Winery. With an acidity of .125 percent, approximately eight times below the 1.0-percent-or-less standard required for the extra-virgin designation, the hand-crafted oil presents a fresh, tropical fruit in the nose, with a touch of pepper on the finish. The resulting total lack of greasiness and fresh clean flavors make the oil a perfect complement to bread or as a condiment or finishing oil for fresh vegetables.
Long Meadow Ranch’s restored 120 year-old historic orchards, now in their fourth harvest, provide the fruit for the ultra premium estate olive oil, Prato Lungo, which means "long meadow" in Italian. Acclaimed by noted international olive-oil authority, Anne Dolamore, as "California’s Best Olive Oil" in her book A Buyer’s Guide to Olive Oil, Prato Lungo is one of just six oils in the world to earn Dolamore’s "Top Recommendation." "One of the keys to making extraordinary olive oil is the capability to press the olives within a few hours of picking. We preserve the freshness of the fruit by processing immediately with our state-of-the-art Pieralisi equipment right here on the Ranch," said owner Ted Hall.
Long Meadow Ranch has been working for eight years to restore the historic orchards which were discovered hidden in the dense second growth forest on the Ranch’s hillsides. In conjunction with American and Spanish experts, the Halls are trying to identify the origin of the trees that are believed to have come to California as cuttings aboard ships via Cape Horn. Although the olives are clearly oil-producing cultivars, even DNA testing has not yet revealed their specific origin. Two of the most recently restored Long Meadow sites are producing a commercial olive crop for the first time since before the turn of the last century.
The 2000-vintage Prato Lungo was picked the week of December 11, 2000. During harvest, a crew of eight workers begins each day at sunrise and works until dusk using ladders to reach the 12- to 14-foot high trees. The olives are gently removed by hand from the trees using a "milking action" and are allowed to drop onto tarps carefully arranged under the trees. The crew also works with the aid of Italian-made pneumatically driven "hands" on six- to eight-foot wands that are connected to an air compressor mounted on a tractor. Once on the tarps, the olives are then gathered into lug boxes and taken to a sorting table where leaves, twigs, and imperfect fruit are removed by hand. The olives are deposited in white bins (the same ones used to harvest grapes) and are taken to the "frantoio" or olive pressing room in the winery building. The world-class Pieralisi olive oil equipment at Long Meadow Ranch features a traditional eight-ton Italian granite olive crusher and the latest two-phase horizontal decanting system.
Olive oil maker, Mike McDaniel, has mastered the state-of-the-art Italian-made equipment during his four years of processing at Long Meadow Ranch. A former cellar worker at Newton Vineyards and a former coffee roaster, McDaniel has a finely developed palate and the experience to operate one of the very few newly constructed olive oil facilities in the United States.
Prato Lungo is only one of the many products created by owners, Ted and Laddie Hall at the roughly 600-acre Long Meadow Ranch. The property, known as Long Meadow Ranch since the turn of the century, was an original "patent grant" ranch signed over by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Having been home to a variety of uses during its long history, Long Meadow Ranch continues to grow and prosper through the Halls’ stewardship. In addition to restoration of the olive groves, new vineyard plantings, wine and oil making, Appaloosa horse breeding, organic vegetable gardening and egg production, the Halls’ activities have been expanded with the recent purchase of America’s premiere herd of Highland cattle. This highly prized beef – also raised by Britain’s royal family – will soon be available in the Napa Valley.
"At Long Meadow Ranch, we set out to achieve excellence through responsible farming. World-class products can be produced using simple sustainable farming methods," says Ted Hall. "We have developed an integrated farming system that relies on each part of the Ranch contributing to the health of the whole - we make our own fertilizers on the Ranch through an extensive composting operation that relies on each segment of the Ranch. Soil erosion is controlled and new soils are built through the use of permanent cover crops of indigenous grasses, clovers and legumes." Long Meadow Ranch does not use herbicides or pesticides and its products are organically grown and produced in accordance with the California Organic Foods Act of 1990.
Prato Lungo is available in a limited supply for $45 per 500 ml. bottle, plus $5 for shipping, from Long Meadow Ranch Winery through the website at www.longmeadowranch.com or by calling toll-free to 877-NAPA-OIL (877-627-2645).
Contact: Monty J. Sander