Looming threateningly over the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano in continental Europe, and its immediate surroundings comprise the most densely populated volcanic region in the world. Tending olive trees in the shadow of an active volcano gives a whole new dimension to the notion of “risk-embracing agriculure,” yet the same ash that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79 nourishes a host of olive trees and grape vines, marking them with a forceful and distinctive imprint of terroir. Fourth-generation Massimo Setaro founded Casa Setaro in 2004, beginning with his family’s small pre-phylloxera grape vines and olive groves around their hometown of Trecase on Vesuvio’s southern slopes. Massimo has since planted new parcels, and today the estate totals 12 hectares of grapes and olive trees all together. The age of the olive trees on Massimo's plots vary from 12 to over one hundred years. Some were living in the area before Vesuvius's last serious eruption, in 1904, but remain small for their age because the rocky soil is too dense for tree's roots to grow deep. Despite the challenges, volcanic soil is very high in potassium which brings extra sweetness to all of the fruits of the land.
Casa Setaro's olive oil is a single varietal oil made with coratina, typical of the region Campagna. The 2022 vintage was abundant and balanced. Like everything Massimo makes, elegance is key. Golden in color with a generous texture, it gives aromas of fresh cut grass. It is soft on the palate with only slight bitterness on the finish.