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!