On April 29th, 1887, Vito Andolini was born in the village of Corleone, Sicily. As a small boy, his father and brother were murdered by the local mafia chieftain. Fearing the boy would exact revenge for his father when he grew up, the mafia Don ordered the boy Vito killed as well. In a daring move that would cost her her life, Vito's mother put a knife to the Don's throat when he came to kill the young boy. This sacrificial act allowed Vito to escape and friends of the Andolini put him on a ship bound for America to ensure his safety. Upon arriving in New York, the immigration officials at Ellis Island renamed Vito Andolini with the surname of his home village to Vito Corleone.
The rest of Vito's infamous tale is told in the 1969 novel The Godfather by Mario Puzo and the films The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974). If you're still unsure of who Vito is and the story of his life because you have not read the novel or seen the movies, perhaps it's time to reevaluate life and we will not be retelling it here. We will however give you a factoid regarding his birth date. As mentioned above, Vito's birthday is April 29th, 1887. This is confirmed in both the book and on his tombstone in the first film. (Don't go crying Spoiler Alert at this point, you've had plenty of time to find out for yourself that he dies!). In the second film however, when we actually see footage of young Vito running for his life from Don Ciccio, Part II states that Vito's birthday is December 7th, 1891. Why the change and lack of continuity, we're not sure. Either way, we hope you learned something about The Godfather that you may not have known or noticed.
Ok, so why The Godfather we're sure you're asking by now. You know we love our thematic Tastings around here at the Shop, but The Godfather? What gives as far as correlation? The first film was released in March, so it's not an anniversary. And Part II was a Christmas release, finding its way into a theater near you on December 20th, 1974. Hell even Part III was released on Christmas Day proper. So why do a Godfather-themed Tasting at the beginning of November? The answer is simple. We felt like it. The films have been popping up in our television streaming queue lately and we can't but help ourselves to watch. So the idea just kind of came as natural and sounded like something fun to do.
While we may not discuss business over the dinner table, it would certainly be helpful if we let you know what we'll be enjoying this week as the film plays in the background. The Tasting will be 100% Italian for sure, obviously. More specifically:
As the film began with a celebration, Connie's wedding, we too will start off festive with some sparkling Ribolla Gialla by I Clivi. The varietal here is the Fruili indigenous Zanussis. Bone dry and cold as steel, this wine will have you leaving the gun and taking the I Clivi.
When a fish situated in a bulletproof vest and wrapped in brown paper arrives at your door you know that Luca Brasi is sleeping with the fishes. However, if you decide to not let said fish go to waste and cook it up, you'll obviously need some wine to go along with it! Colle Stefano's Verdicchio di Matelica is just the thing! From the small town of Matelica in the Marche region, just east of Umbria, this crisp Verdicchio makes a splendid food wine.
And now on to Sicily. Starting off light, on the island where Vito Andolini was born, we'll be enjoying Frappato from Giovanni Gurrieri and his family. Remember at the beginning of the film, during Connie's wedding scene, when Clemenza calls out to Paulie and orders him to get him more wine? And he's drinking it by the pitcher? This Frappato could certainly be guzzled like that. Light, juicy and quaffable, Frappato is always a crowd-pleaser.
And lastly, still in Sicily, but this time narrowing it down and honing it in, we'll be enjoying a Nero d'Avola from a little Sicilian village called... Corleone. Yes, that Corleone. Centopassi Giato Rosso to be exact. But if you're worried at this point for any of us crossing any lines and going to a life of crime, fear not. The winery gets its name from "I Cento Passi' (The Hundred Steps) and anti-Mafia film and the wines are grown in vineyards confiscated from the Mafia, in essence giving back to Sicily rather than taking with the bloody violence that has ruled the island for generations.
Don't we just love a happy ending?
We are however going to make you an offer you can't refuse: Don't miss this Tasting! Wednesday November 9th from 5 to 7.
See you there.
The Wine Shop Team