"The smoldering power of an ancient yet still active volcano, the native roots of unique grapes that reach back hundreds of years, and the passion of local talent eager to breathe new life into one of Campania’s most historic wine regions: Dionysus, god of the vine, would be most proud of the team at Cantine Olivella.
Here on the slopes of Monte Summa, the oldest part of Vesuvius — the volcano that destroyed Pompeii and continues to rumble, shaking daily the nerves of the Napolitani — grape growing is an ancient art, the lava-rich, sandy slopes of the volcano providing perfect terroir for rare, native grapes such as Catalanesca and Piedirosso.
Winemaker Andrea Cozzolino started his project in 2004, bringing with him some of his family’s historic vineyard holdings here in the Vesuvio National Park, a protected area that provides vines with an ideal biodiversity in which to thrive. Small vineyards dot this wild landscape, ranging from 900 to nearly 2,400 feet in altitude — this is fine winemaking that respects the natural landscape of Vesuvius while cultivating historic vines on soils that have known them for centuries.
Catalanesca is a rare white grape that is said to have been brought to the Naples region in the 15th century by Spanish royalty — which is why its name recalls the Spanish region of Catalonia. Cultivated only on the slopes of Vesuvius, Catalanesca is a medium-bodied ray of sunshine, with rich yellow and white fruits and a smoky, steely freshness. Olivella is one of the only estates in Italy that bottles a single-varietal wine from Catalanesca. ‘Katà’ is the local diminutive for this white grape."