Centopassi is the name of a wine, the result of efforts by the Placido Rizzotto Social Cooperative which is a member of Libera Terra, an anti-Mafia association founded by Don Ciotti. It also refers to a great movie (The Hundred Steps) directed by Marco Tullio Giordana and Claudio Fava about a brave man who believed in honesty and was killed by the mafia.
Yesterday we heard the news that the Pietralunga vineyard had been vandalized in a clear mafia-style attack. It highlights how important and effective the work of the associations is. They are transforming assets originally gained through illegal practices and violence into constructive employment opportunities for young people in Sicily, inspired by principles of solidarity and a determination to work within the law.
The Cooperative was set up in 2001 thanks to the Prefecture of Palermo, the Development and Legality Consortium, Libera Terra and a group of young people who decided to work the 155 hectares of land confiscated from some Mafia bosses including Brusca and Riina.
The name chosen for the cooperative, Placido Rizzotto, is the name of a young man from Corleone who, in the immediate post-war period, decided to commit himself to union work in order to help poor peasant farmers in the area to form cooperatives and occupy the abandoned neglected estates. On May 10 1948 he was murdered by Luciano Liggio.
We met the young people of the cooperative in summer 2003, when several hectares of vineyard had been destroyed and a tractor burned. Once again we have to express our full solidarity and support. A few weeks ago it was a Calabrian cooperative, cultivating land confiscated from the ’ndrangheta, which suffered intimidation from organized criminal attacks.
Our meeting at that time involved a wine project, which had been set up as a result of the interest of some industry professionals, Federico Curtaz and Beppe Caviola. The abandoned vineyards have been rehabilitated, maintaining local grape varieties: from catarratto to grillo for the whites, and nero d’Avola to perricone for the reds.
Now, after four years, the first wines are on the market: a white produced from catarratto grapes cultivated in a magnificent vineyard at 400 meters of altitude and a red from nero d’Avola and syrah.
The Centopassi label was designed by a student at the Institute Bodoni in Turin. The first bottles can be bought from Coop or directly from San Giuseppe Jato (tel. 091 8577655, Luca Faraone).
If you buy some, not only will you enjoy a good quality wine but you’ll also be contributing to a gfod cause. As Don Ciotti has said, ‘Each bottle produced is a defeat for the Mafia’.
First printed in La Stampa on May 14 2007
Gigi Piumatti is an editor of the Italian Wines guide (Gambero Rosso-Slow Food Editore)