This is a question we are frequently asked and the answer can help you with not just our oils but other high quality olive oils. If you are buying a California olive oil the first consideration should be to buy an oil that is certified by the COOC. All oils certified by the COOC under go a human taste test by trained experts. Many olive oil defects cannot be detected by a chemical analysis so a human taste test is essential to ensure high quality. It is very inexpensive to become certified so all high quality producers do so. You also want to look for a harvest date. All high quality producers print a harvest date on their bottles. You also want to choose producers whose bottles are dark glass. This helps prevent the degradation of oil due to exposure to light.
We describe our oils in the following way:
Mistral is light intensity and used on white wine dishes.
Sierra is medium intensity and used on red wine dishes.
Barouni is strong intensity and used on red wine dishes and other hearty fare.
The word intensity above refers to the pungency in the back of the throat that real extra virgin olive oil has. This is evidence of anti-oxidants.
However, as with wine, all the rules above can be broken if you are looking for contrasts. So which oil you choose depends on how you like the olive pungency. Typically the more you intake real extra virgin olive oil the stronger you prefer your oil.
Because of the high anti-oxidant level in our oils they can easily last two years from harvest date. Anti-oxidants protect our body and they protect the oil from degrading.