This weekend we travel to Trecase in Campania to taste the “Teramatta” Aglianico, Campania Rosso ($23.99) from the Casa Setaro winery, in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, the only active volcano on the European continent. Nearby are the Campi Flegrei, numerous caldera that ancient people thought were the entrance to the Underworld. Casa Setaro is located in the eastern part of the volcano known as the Vesuvius National Park. The terroir is unique because the sandy soil that covers the volcano’s rock saved the vines from the grape phylloxera that decimated most continental vineyards. The pest could not survive in sand so the vines of Casa Setaro remain ungrafted to this day.
Ian D’Agata, author of the tome “Native Grapes of Italy”, one of my primary references in my Italian wine education, considers Aglianico to be one of Italy’s top three red wine grapes, along with Nebboiolo and Sangiovese. We have the Greeks to thank for bringing the Aglianico grape to Campania around the 8th century BC.
The Setaro family is dedicated to traditional viticulture and does not use herbicides or chemical fertilizers. They also keep an “eye” to the future and this philosophy inspired the design of the eye on Aglianico’s label. Many of you are familiar with the Setaro name since Piazza carries their outstanding pasta products. Fourth generation member Massimo Setaro is heir to the Setaro enterprise and founded Casa Setaro in 2004. He has built upon his family’s small vineyard by adding new parcels that now totals 12 hectares of vines of rooted plant material of indigenous grapes.
Emily and I recently tasted both the Setaro Aglianico and Falanghina and we recommend both of them. I especially liked the Aglianico’s ruby red hue, floral aroma, hints of red fruits, full body, and velvet tannins. Pair with game, pizza or any red sauce dish-Aglianico is also my go-to wine for lamb, especially on Easter Sunday.
Come join me at Piazza Italian Market for a taste of Aglianico on Friday from noon to 5:45 or Saturday from noon to 4:45.
Jennifer Martella has pursued dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. She has reestablished her architectural practice for residential and commercial projects and is a referral agent for Meredith Fine Properties. Her Italian heritage led her to Piazza Italian Market, where she hosts wine tastings every Friday and Saturday afternoons.