The first thing one needs to know in order to define an extra virgin olive oil is that, as stated on the label, it must be obtained directly from olives and exclusively by mechanical processes .
The various commercial classifications, then, are made on the basis of certain chemical parameters, the most famous of which is the percentage degree of “oleic acid” present, and the absence or presence and intensity of defects such as rancid, mold, sludge, avvinato..
The more acidic the oil, the less good it is qualitatively. Acidity is not measured by the palate but only by chemical analysis, and for an extra virgin oil it must be less than 0.8%.
What is perceived on the palate is whether it is sweet, spicy, bitter, characteristics that an extra virgin olive oil must have, and whether it has defects: a defective oil will most likely have high acidity and therefore will not be an extra virgin.
Oil made in a good year i.e., when good, healthy olives that have not suffered arrive at the mill, will have low acidity, be bitter and spicy and have a fresh and intense (fruity) aroma .
In a bad year i.e. when the olives have been attacked by insects, damaged by weather .. the oil will have a higher acidity. It often happens that for convenience or to obtain higher yields the olives are taken to the mill for pressing after a few days, so the oil will have a high acidity even though the vintage will have been good and the olives beautiful. This is a very common mistake among olive growers.