Centopassi ‘Terre Rosse di Giabbascio’ Catarratto
San Giuseppe Jato, Palermo, Sicily 2017
Catarratto is the workhorse grape for most of Sicily’s Marsala production. Up until recently this grape made up about 75% of all plantings in Sicily (beastly numbers) but in the last 20 years that number has shrunk to 35%. The history of the grape is one of quantity and not quality, but clearly the focus in Sicily has changed for the better. This wine is easily the best varietal Catarratto I’ve ever had.
Italy is one of the only places in Europe where the state can reclaim property from convicted criminals. The Libera Terra (free the land) project is working to revitalize this otherwise dormant land and create organic cooperatives for the local farmers. Centopassi is the winemaking division and all of the wines are grown in vineyards confiscated from convicted Mafiosi, borrowing its name from the recent and influential anti-Mafia film ‘I Cento Passi’ (the Hundred Steps). But the real story here is in the vines themselves and in the families and communities reclaiming their identities which lived for far too long under the shadow of the infamous criminal organization. This is an inspiring project that is clearly worthy of support well beyond the phenomenal wines they are producing.