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
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.