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Il Censo, Terre Siciliane Rosso “Njuro”Sicily, Italy 2016 (750mL)

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Il Censo, Terre Siciliane Rosso “Njuro” Sicily, Italy 2016 (750mL)

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Alcohol

If you haven’t heard of Il Censo, there’s no need to punish yourself: Whilst closely watched and deeply respected by in-the-know Italophiles, it is ultimately an arcane, small-scale collaboration between Umbria legend/global superstar Giampiero Bea and Sicilian-born Gaetano Gargano. Each tiny release has become a once-per-year celebration for people like us because it’s a rare opportunity to acquire a Bea-stamped red without forking over serious money.  


When Gargano took over his family’s 200+-year-old farmstead clinging to a steep volcanic outcropping in Sicily, it was equipped with (1) an ancient olive tree grove, (2) rugged hillsides that once held grains and legumes, and (3) a single, garden-sized parcel planted to the indigenous Perricone grape. Gargano was determined to revive the vineyard. Turns out, Bea was interested too, so they began working in tandem to produce fascinating, natural wines in small batches. The rest is history. One taste of the pure, wild, youthful exuberance swirling around “Il Censo” will have you calling it one of the year’s most unique and exhilarating reds while simultaneously reaching for more. It’s vivid, juicy, and deeply mineral with a brooding “sauvage” undercurrent that pushes it into the realm of supernatural—all for fractions less than Bea’s Umbrian reds. Fair warning: What little trickles into America never survives the first wave of buyers!




“Il Censo” is the product of a quarter-century-old friendship and deeply gifted talent in the vineyard and cellar coming together at an ancient Sicilian family property. Gaetano Gargano met Giampiero Bea in the early 1990s and the two struck up an immediate friendship founded on a similar sense of humor and their mutual ability to enlighten one another. Gaetano was an experienced financial professional and helped the Bea family make informed decisions while Giampiero fed Gaetano’s insatiable curiosity and passion for wine. This bond continually deepened over the years, and in the late 2000s, the two came upon an ideal opportunity to combine their skills and interests. 


Gaetano and his wife’s family were rehabilitating a centuries-old inherited estate in the village of Palazzo Adriano. Roughly 40 miles south of Palermo, Sicily, this ancient township is perched 2,000 feet high in the hills. Forgotten by modernity, it is a rural and extraordinarily picturesque village that resembles the idealized Sicily as depicted in films. This is not a coincidence—Palazzo Adriano is located just south of Corleone and is the setting of the Oscar-winning film “Cinema Paradiso.” It is no wonder that Gaetano dreamed of reintroducing viticulture to this magical property and that, after just one visit, Giampiero Bea needed no further persuasion to join the endeavor. 


The two men selected a 2,100-foot-high hillside as the ideal location for their newer plantings and, with Giampiero’s experience and supervision, Gaetano added 2.5 hectares of the white grape Catarratto and 2.5 hectares of the variety that makes up today’s wine, Perricone. Also known as Pignatello (and locally as Njuro Cane, the “black dog”), Perricone is a thick-skinned red variety that is planted across western Sicily. Like the Sagrantino of Giampiero’s estate in Montefalco, Umbria, Perricone produces wines with dark and concentrated color, robust tannins, and no shortage of raw power. 


After manually harvesting their Certified Organic crop, the juice naturally ferments without temperature control, and the wine then ages in stainless steel for two years. It is bottled without fining or filtration and allowed further time to rest in bottle before release. Every time I’ve tasted these beautiful and fierce wines, I’ve learned the pulsing core of wild berry fruit drives subtler notes of grilled Mediterranean herbs, cured meat, and exotic purple florals that evolve dramatically during the first hour of consumption. Today’s 2016 greets you with a full-throated roar of sappy black cherries, raspberry, ripe red plum, charred violet, boysenberry, crushed black rock, and white pepper—but it is much more refined/restrained than the previous vintage. The palate is rich yet structured, delivering vibrant layers of dark fruits and wild spice that simmer on a long, grippy finish. I agree with Vinous’ take: “Choosing between this and the sultry 2015 tasted alongside it is like splitting hairs; ultimately, the 2016 is the long-distance runner of the pair.” So, whether drinking now or in another five years, this is bound to thrill. Cheers!




Il Censo, Terre Siciliane Rosso “Njuro” Sicily, Italy 2016 - SommSelect

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionSicily
  • Sub-RegionTerre Siciliane Rosso
  • SoilVolcanic
  • FarmingCertified Organic
  • BlendPerricone
  • Alcohol13.5%

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionSicily
  • Sub-RegionTerre Siciliane Rosso
  • SoilVolcanic
  • FarmingCertified Organic
  • BlendPerricone
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2026
  • Decanting60 Minutes
  • PairingGrilled Sicilian Eggplant w/ Pesto-Feta Sauce