Category Archives: Casa Setaro

Visiting CasaSetaro Winery on Mt. Vesuvio

 

Two years ago when Michele and I were in Rome  I was contacted by Massimo Setaro owner/wine maker of the CasaSetaro winery in Campania. We made an appointment to meet at a restaurant in Rome for lunch to taste his wines. He invited us to visit him at the winery the next time we were in Naples.

This yeart Massimo came and drove us to the winery

Lower vineyard: Tufa and higher vegetation

As Michele and I  stood in the vineyard Massimo said the winery is located on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius in Trecase. All the vineyards are located inside the Vesuvius National Park.

He spoke about the terroir and said it is volcanic and sandy with a layer of lava on the surface and volcanic stone. There is a mineral character present in the wines. This composition of the soil makes the vines immune to phylloxera so the vines are not grafted on to American root stock. Pointing to a vine he said if phylloxera  attacked this plant it would destroy it but would die in the soil before it reached another plant.

The higher vineyard with the Lapilli

The exposure of the vineyards are south/southeast, at 200 to 450 meters. At the lower part of the vineyards the soil in black and packed very tightly and Massimo called it tufa. He grows tall vegetation between the rows  to help feed the vines. Higher up on the volcano the soil has very small pebbles called lapilli which were deposited when the volcano erupted and the vegetation in much shorter.

If you walk to the highest point, you would be surrounded by the forests of the Vesuvius National Park.

Green organic manure is used and the vines are treated only with copper and sulfur. Selected yeast is used in all the wines and the winery uses only their own grapes.

There are 4,500 plants per hectare.

Massimo Satero

Massimo said he had bought a number of oak barriques but does not use them for wine anymore. Now they are used for planters.

He said he learned a lot from his father growing up in the winery where they live. He said he takes care of all the production steps from vineyard management to the final bottling and his wife, Mariarosaria, works at his side.

I was very impressed with the passion in his voice when he spoke about growing up in the winery, the Vesuvius National Park, his wines and that he and his family live at the winery.

The Winesimg_1504

Caprettone Spumante Method Classico 2014 100% Caprettone Production zone Alto Tirone, Vesuvius National Park. The age of the vineyards is 18 to 25 years. They are at 350 meters and the training system is espalier, guyot trained with a few buds per plant. Vinification: maceration at 4 degrees C in steel tanks, fermentation for 18 to 24 days, the second fermentation takes place after about six months. The wine remains on the lees for 30 months and remains in bottle for about 12 months before release.

Last year when I was a judge at Radici del Sud in Puglia, this wine was picked as #1 in the spumante category by the journalist panel of which I was a member.

Massino said the Caprettone grape is excellent for making spumante method classico because it has very good body and produces a round and elegant wine. I have to agree.img_1503

Falanghina Campania IGT “Campanelle” 100% Falanghina del Vesuvio. Production Area: various micro zones within the Vesuvius National Park. The vineyards are at 250 meters and the vines are 18 years old. The training system is espalier with guyot pruning.  The wine has nice citrus aromas and flavors with a touch of minerality. He said the Falangina produced here is very different from the one produced further inland.

Massimo feels that Falanghina does not have the same rich character as the Caprettone. We both agreed however with spaghetti con vongole verace, spaghetti with clams, we would drink the Falanghina. 

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Bianco “Munazei” 100% Caprettone. Production zone Vesuvius National Park. The training system is Vesuvian pergola and guyot. Vinification: Maceration in steel tanks at a controlled temperature and fermentation lasts for about 20 days. The wine remains in steel tanks for about 6 months and then in bottle for two months before release. We tasted the 2016 and the 2007 which was not showing any sign of age.

In the last year the law has changed so Massimo can put the grape variety Caprettone on the label.

Michele and I first had wines made from the Caprettone grape a few years ago on the Amalfi Coast and have been drinking them ever since.

Munazei- this is what they called the cold storage rooms built into the mountain where food was kept to prevent spoilage.img_1502

 Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Rosato “Munazei” 2016 100% Piedirosso. The vineyards are at 300 to 350 meters and the vines are 20 years old. Training system is espalier, guyot and Vesuvian pergola. There is a soft destemming and pressing followed by low temperature skin fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 4 degrees C for about 24 hours. The lees are removed and there is cleaning and controlled temperature fermentation at 10 to 12 degrees C for 18 to 24 days. The wine remains in steel tanks for 3 months and another 2 months in bottle before it is released. It has aromas and flavors of fresh red fruit with hints of cherry, strawberry and raspberry.img_1505

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Piedirosso DOC 2016 100% Piedirosso. Espalier, guyot training Vesuvian pergola. Vinification: Maturation in stainless steel tanks for 6 months and in bottle for 3 months before release. The wine has hints of dark fruit with touch of blackberries and violets. It is an easy drinking wine that goes very well with food.

Aglicano “Terramalta” IGT 100% Aglianico2016 from the comune di Trecase (NA), Bosco del Merlo and Tirone della Guardia. The vines are 15/25 years old and the training system is guyot and pergola vesuviana. Destemming and soft pressing of the grapes followed by temperature controlled fermentation at 15C and the lees are removed. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 3 months and in small oak barrels for 2 months and in bottle before release. This is a full bodied wine with flavors and aromas of red fruit, balsamic hints, a touch of  licorice and good minerality.

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Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso DOC Riserva “Don Vincenzo”  2013.  Made from 85% Piedirosso and 15% Aglianico. The production area is Tirone della Guardia. The vineyards are at 350 meters and are 30 years old. The training system is espalier, guyot trained. There is a natural selection of the hand picked grapes. Fermentation takes place with skin contact for 12 to 14 days. The wine is then aged for 24 months in French oak tonneau and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a deeply rich wine with hints of cherries and raspberries with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. Massimo said this wine is named after his father.

We went with Massimo and his wife to La Notizia, one of the “classic” pizzerias on the Vomero. Massimo is a good friend of the owner Enzo Coccia who planned a menu foe us, but that is another blog.

 

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Filed under Aglianico, Caprettone, Casa Setaro, Lacyma Chrisiti di Vesuvio, Massimo Setaro, Piedirosso, Uncategorized

Haccademia: A Great Pizzeria on the Road to Mt. Vesuvius

Last year I was in Benevento for Campania Stories, a tasting of the wines of Campania for journalists. My friend, the wine writer Tom Hyland, introduced me to Marina Alaimo a wine and food writer from Naples and we spoke about wine and pizza. When I told her that Michele and I would be in Naples in February she said that we must contact her and we did.img_2566

Marina picked us up and took us to Haccademia, a pizzeria on via Panoramica 8 in Terzigno less than half an hour outside Naples on the way to Pompeii. Marina told us that the road that passes in front of the restaurant leads directly to the top of Vesuvio.

Maria Consiglia Izzo, a food blogger and photographer, and the sommelier Fosca Tortorelli joined us at the restaurant to sample the pizza. Marina introduced us to the owner, Aniello Falanga and his son Nicola.

Maria said Aniello is a self-taught pizzaiolo. He has devoted his attention to studying the techniques of raising and maturing the dough in order to make it more digestible and light as a cloud.

Aniello and Nicola at work

Aniello and Nicola at work

Aniello is very passionate when it comes to speaking about pizza. He is an advisor to pizza places both in Italy and abroad and taught the art of pizza making for many years. He has won many awards and is mentioned in Gambero Rosso and Slow Food Vesuvius. He even goes to elementary schools in the Naples area to teach young children how to make pizza.

Aniello with his Pizza Fritta

Aniello with his Pizza Fritta

Aniello began working as a pizzaiolo in 1985 and opened his own pizzeria in 1989. For 20 years he had a pizzeria in Pompei. He has just received the stamp of approval # 631 from Association Vera Pizza Napoletana which certifies authentic Neapolitan pizza.

On Thursdays and Fridays, Aniello makes a special pan pizza. For this he uses flour made of ancient varieties of grains, which he has researched. img_2540The flour is made from variety of grain from the hills of Beneventane and is stone ground. Unfortunately, our visit was on a Wednesday so we did not get to try this pizza, though we did try several others.

 

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Aniello explained each pizza that we were served.

They are all traditional Neapolitan pizza. The ingredients he uses reflect the area around Vesuvius.img_2542

Four Bocconcini di Montanara: little fried rounds of pizza dough topped with ragu of beef, baccala, tomato and mozzarella, and anchovies and burrata.img_2545

Pizza Margarita antichi pomodori di Napoli, fiore di latte di Tramonti, basilico, olio evo del Vesuvio. My favorite pizza and it was Pizza Margarita at its best.img_2548

Pizza with winter quash, guanciale, pumpkin seeds and mozzarella. Michele and I have never had a pizza before with this topping and it was so good.img_2554

Pizza Luisella: scarola Napoletano, fiore di latte Tramonti, olive nere itrane, capperi di Salina, alici di Cetara, pinoli tostati e olio di Vesuvio. This may have been Michele’s favorite because in contained all the flavors of Campania and was so fresh tasting.img_2555

Montanara mozzarella, tomato and basil-topped fried pizza at its best. Aniello told us that after frying the dough and adding the toppings, he places it briefly in the oven to melt the cheese and enhance the crispness.img_2560

Pizza fritta with ricotta and ciccoli di maiale. This was so light it was difficult to tell it was fried, and the filling was creamy and well seasoned.

Fosca

Fosca and Marina

The first wine  we drank was selected by Fosca and the second by Marina

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Fosca suggested we start with the Caprettone Spumante Method Classico 100% Caprettone from Casa Setaro. This was an excellent choice. I met Massimo Setaro in Rome last October. See https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/a-taste-of-vesuvius-in-rome-casasetaro-winery/img_2546

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso “Vigna Lapillo” Sorrentino made from 80% Piedirosso and 20% Aglianico. Marina picked this wine because the winery is only a few minutes away and we were going to visit it after lunch.

 

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Before we left, Aniello insisted we try his Baba au Rhum. Not too sweet, it was surely the best version of this dessert I have ever eaten and great way to end a wonderful lunch.

 

 

 

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Filed under Casa Setaro, Haccademia, Pizza, Uncategorized

Tasting the Red Wines of Campania

Seminars for both the white and red wines of Campania were given on the same day. I attended the seminar on the white wines but was unable to stay for the red wine seminar. However, I was able to taste and drink the red wines at the dinner held at Del Posto and at the walk around tasting that was held between the seminars. It was very interesting to be able to taste wines from some producers that I did not know.

The Grapes

Aglianico:-this is a black late ripening grape, which may have been brought to Greece by the Phoenicians. The Ancient Greeks then introduced it into Southern Italy and it took root in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. Aglianico is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (d.79 AD) in his Natural History. It may be one of the grapes used in Ancient Roman’s most famous wine Falernian. Aglianico, along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, are often ranked as the three top grape varieties in Italy. See Jeremy Parzen’s http://dobianchi.com/2008/01/29/aglianico-ellenico/ excellent article on how Aglianico got its name. Taurasi, made from Aglianico (Campania), is one of Italy’s great wines. They can last many years. Recently I had wines from the 1958 and 1968 vintage and they were wonderful.

Piedirosso – means “red foot” in Italian because the bottom of the vine has a red-colored triple-branched stem like a dove’s foot. In the local dialect it is also know as Palombina (little dove) and Pere’e Pallummo (dove’s foot). Nicholas Belfrage in his book “Brunello to Zabibbo” says “…Piedrosso is a very ancient grape and may be identical to the Colombina mentioned by Pliny.” He also says that Piedirosso is related to the Refosco from Friuli.

“Both… are members of the Cot family of grapes. Of which the best-known example is Malbec. The Refosco has a peduncolo rosso-a red stem

I really enjoy wines made from 100% Piedirrosso. They are fruity with aromas of plums and cherries and a hint of spice. These wines are inexpensive, well under $20 and worth the effort to find.IMG_5012

Quintodecimo Terra d’Eclano Aglianico Irpinia DOC Made from 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay and tufa. There are 5,000 vines per hectare and the harvest is from the middle to the end of October. The maceration period is about 20 days and malolactic fermentation takes place naturally in barriques. The wine spends between 18 and 24 months in new barriques depending on the vintage and another year in bottle before release. I believe the winery is organic. This is a full-bodied wine with aromas of tobacco,cassis and leather.IMG_4904

Taurasi DOCG  2009 Donnachiara 100% Aglianico coming from the 20 hectare estate vineyard Torre le Nocelle. Ilaria Petitto from the winery said that all of Donnachiara’s red wines are made from grapes from this vineyard. The soil is volcanic, the vines are 30 years old, the training system is Guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest takes place the first week of September. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed prior to pressing and there is no filtration. The wine is aged for 12 months in 225-liter French barriques, and 24 months in bottle before release. This is a big complex wine with berry aromas and flavors, hints of cherry and plum and a touch of cacao and coffee.IMG_4967

Terra di Lavoro Roccamofina IGT Made from 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso. The Gaiardi Estate produces only this wine. The vines are planted in volcanic soil and there are very low yields. The training for the vines is spur-pruned Cordon, there are 1,800 plants per hectare, the vineyard is at 1,485 ft. with a western exposure. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel for 20 days. Maceration lasts for 14 days with pumpovers. The wine is aged in French barriques (225 liters) for 12 months. 70 of the barriques are new and 30 are second passage. The wine remains in bottle for 12 months before release. This is a full-bodied wine with aromas of berries and plums and hints of licorice and coffee. The wine was aged in new barriques but I did not pick up any of those international aromas and flavors.IMG_4979

Ragis- Made from 80% Aglanico and 20% Piedirosso La Vigna Di Raito. The soil is shallow and mostly sand on a chalk rock layer. The Aglianico vines are cultivated on Guyot espalier and the Piedirosso on pergolas, a system characteristic of the Amalfi Coast. The exposure is south-southeast and there are about 3,500 plants per hectare.There is separate vinification for the two grapes in stainless steel vessels for over 15 days under controlled temperatures. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. The two wines are transferred into 500 liter French oak barrels and blended. They remain here for 12 months. Then the wine spends another 12 months in bottle before release. It has the power of the Aglanico with the aromatic hints of the Peidirosso, which makes it an elegant wine with a lot of body. This is the first time I have tasted this wine.

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Lacryma Christi di Vesuvio Rosso  Casa Setaro  Made from Piedirosso 85% and 15% Aglianico. The vineyards are at 220-350 meters and the manual harvest takes place at the end of October. The vines are15-25 years old and the training system is guyot and pergola Vesuvian. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and temperature controlled fermentation. Racking takes place with pneumo-pressing. Maturation is in stainless steel for at least three months, followed by three months in small oak barrels and then aged in the bottle. The wine has aromas of dark fruits, berries and fern, with mineral undertones in the background. On the palate it is full, soft, and fresh.

 

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Filed under Aglianico, campania, Casa Setaro, Domodimonti winery, La Vigina Di Raito, Lacyma Chrisiti di Vesuvio, Piedirosso, Qointodrcimo, Ragis, Terra d'Eclano, Terra di Lavoro