Joshua Yaguda, Pasolivo’s olive miller, stood in the middle of the press room hosing down the Pieralisi olive mill. We turned our heads with the rest of the tour group as a small voice, with an accompanying echo, came from inside the tall steel vat to our left.
“Oh, that’s just my daughter Veda,” said Joshua. We joined in the laughter as little Veda gaily greeted us from inside the vat, where she was helping her dad with the cleaning. I’m still wondering what she found in there.
It’s this family-centric attitude that makes Pasolivo, and most of Paso Robles’s small, family-owned wineries, so unique. Pasolivo is operated and owned by Karen Guth; her son Yaguda and his family also run the ranch with her. Over 45 acres of Tuscan olives are hand-picked on the ranch at harvest time in order to prevent bruising and maintain the highest quality for their extra virgin, award-winning oils.
Oh yes, the olive oils. We tried several of them that day: the 3-month old “olio nuovo,” and the Meyer lemon, lime, and tangerine varieties. Rustic bread dipped in olive oil and then topped with coarse salt combined to refresh our palates. All thoughts of the Cabernet and Syrah we had tasted just minutes earlier on our wine tasting trail were forgotten, and we left with a bottle of the Meyer lemon oil, our favorite from the tasting.
In an attempt to recapture those sunny days on California’s Central Coast, I’ve used the lemon oil in almost every meal we’ve cooked since returning to dreary, wintery Brooklyn. On the suggestion of Joeli Yaguda, Joshua’s wife and Pasolivo’s sales and marketing manager, I covered a chicken in the citrus oil and roasted it to create a juicy and flavorful meal. The oil has also brightened up several salads, and last night we brushed it on some grey sole baked with garlic and breadcrumbs.
And that’s how we’re keeping our Paso Robles vacation alive: some Pasolivo olive oil on our salads, a glass of Hansen Vineyards Cabernet with our dinner. I just don’t know what we’ll do when we run out of wine.
Pasolivo Olive Oil, 8530 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles T: 805-227-0186