“Addio Pizzo" wine

By Robert K. Stephen on December 16, 2011

You may have had organic wine. You may have had biodynamic wine. You may have had wine produced by sustainable agricultural methods. But have you had "pizzo" free wine? “Pizzo” in Italian means protection money paid to you know who. Fed up after assassinations and murders of  members of the judiciary leading investigations into organized crime, a spontaneous movement erupted in 2004 in Palermo bearing the slogan “Addio Pizzo” meaning good-bye to protection money and let’s support those in the economy that are Pizzo free. Their slogan reads, “Un Intero Popolo Che Paga Il Pizzo É Un Popolo Senza Dignità” translated as such, “A Whole People Who Pays the Pizzo is a People Without Dignity”. 

The Addio Pizzo group, shopkeepers and business owners, seemed to draw its inspiration from Libero Grassi who was gunned down in August 29, 1991 for speaking out against the Sicilian mob's extortion. Two magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were lead prosecutors were also murdered by carbombs in 1992. As the Occupy movement in North America seems a spontaneous reaction to perceived corporate greed and corruption, Addio Pizzo is a reaction to violence, murder and extortion. The Addio Pizzo movement seeks to guide shopping habits to favour those who declare they are anti protection money. Who the organizers are is not revealed on their website (www.addiopizzo.org <http://www.addiopizzo.org/> ) perhaps for obvious reasons. The wines reviewed here were first sampled at an Italian Trade Commission tasting in October in Toronto and bore the Addio Pizzo sticker.

This Nero D’Avola is almost garnet in colour and of medium intensity. Dusky and rough on the nose. Smells like it’s ready for a fight. But when you get to know it, it’s not aggressive or mean just a bit burly with raw black cherry predominating along with earth and minerality. The rough black cherry just wants to continually assert itself and it’s very pure and uncontrived like hair blowing in the wind. Thick and solid on the palate like a bulldozer smoothing out a truckload of cherry and chocolate. One moment you are thinking a short finish then a swirl of cherry and blackberry hits the palate in strange circular patterns. It does not look like a full bodied wine nor initially does it taste like one until it kicks in and goes full throttle without big tannins. The wine begs for pasta with loads of garlic, sausage and rapini. The raw element in this wine further begs that the wine be decanted to tame it a bit. (Valdibella 2009 Kerasos Nero D’Avola, IGT, COOP. Agr Valdibella Sicily, Italy). A great wine evolves in a glass and over the short time it is being consumed. This wine becomes a little charmer as it opens up but never losing its underlying power. Not currently available in the SAQ on a single bottle basis but be patient as soon ( March 2012) you can buy this in a 6 bottle case and from:

Importations Syl-Vins

6655 Boulevard Pierre Bertrand, local E-50, Québec, Qc, G2K 1M1

cell: 514.718.7651 


bur: 514-461-3526 




The white Munir Cataratto has a nice golden glow to it. The nose is full of melon, spice, melon, humidity and persimmons. It’s creamy and luscious on the palate with a big mouth feel leaving a persistent spice, Abate pear and guava coating. The acids are refreshing not ripping. Medium finish with some weight. It lacks complexity but causes you to think carefully about its aromas and taste. If you have never had wine made from Cataratto here is a good place to start. It has a remarkable similarity with Aleksander Estates Pinot Grigio from Lake Erie North Shore in Ontario especially with its humidity component on the aroma. Escape your international white grape slavery and make the move to Cataratto a grape rarely seen outside of Sicily! Drink now. (Valdibella 2010 Munir Cataratto Bianco, IGT, COOP. Agr Valdibella, Sicily, Italy).  Once again see the review above for availability and the 6 minimum bottle requirement.

Valdibella produces not only ICEA certified wines but organic almonds and olives and is located in the Camporeale region in Western Sicily. 11 wines are produced and only two are available in Ontario but Syl-Vins promises more will be available in Québec very soon. 


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