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New Vintages of Il Censo: Newest Sicilian Acquisition from Rosenthal

I know, I know it seems like every week we are featuring wines from Sicily. But we can't help ourselves. There is so much great stuff coming out of this small yet magnanimous island that there is never enough time to try it all.
Il Censo hit the radar a few years back as part of the Rosenthal portfolio. To those not familiar, Rosenthal is considered the best American producer and we tend to have one of the bigger selections of their wines. Now some more name dropping: Il Censo works and has the same artist as the infamous Paolo Bea. You will notice a weird similarity in their labels.  This is an estate of 65 hectares situated in Bivona in the south-central zone of Sicily near the town of Palazzo Adriana, the site of the wonderful film, Cinema Paradiso. Gaetano’s family, through his mother’s side (family name: Spoto), has owned Il Censo for over 200 years. Production over the years was principally of grains and legumes but there was also a small vineyard planted to Perricone and Malvasia Nera and an old olive grove the trees of which are now 100 years of age. The name “Il Censo” literally means “census” but in this instance most likely refers to the obligations of the tenant farmers to pay tribute to the landowning family, a system that dates back to feudal times. The name predates the Spoto time of ownership.
As has been the case so often, much of the agricultural activity at Il Censo was abandoned over the years. Gaetano met Giampiero Bea of Paolo Bea about 25 years ago and fell in love with the work the Bea family was doing in Montefalco. Ultimately, Gaetano determined to reinvigorate the farming activity at Il Censo and, with the guidance of Giampiero, began by planting 5 hectares of vineyards split between the white Cataratto grape and the black Perricone variety. The vineyards are situated high on an undulating volcanic outcropping. An additional four hectares have recently been planted which will come into production between the 2015 and 2017 vintages. This newest planting regime includes Nero d’Avola and Malvasia Nera in addition to Cataratto and Perricone.
 
  • Wines Arrive 5/12
  • 10% off 6, 15% off 12


2016 Il Censo "Praruar" Cattaratto Bianco
Newsletter Price: $27.99
Produced exclusively from Catarratto grapes grown on the Il Censo estate outside of Palazzo Adriano; vineyards are farmed organically and grapes are harvested manually, with harvest occurring usually in October; the grapes maintain contact with the skins for two to three weeks, the length of the maceration depending on the vintage; only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation and no temperature controls are utilized; the wines is bottled with being fined or filtered. As this sees skin contact, it is safe to call this an "orange wine" but the flavors are more benign than one might expect with subtle caramelization and oliy orange skin essence. Nutty, but not in the almondy sherry essence, more vibrancy and punch. 

2016 Il Censo "Provvido" Nero d'Avola Rosso
Newsletter Price: $24.99
First vintage for this wine in the U.S. Nobody knows anything about it. Be the first!
 
2015 Il Censo "Njuro" Perricone Rosso
Newsletter Price: $32.99
Produced exclusively from the Perricone grape, also known in local dialect as “njuro cane” (the black dog); vineyards are farmed organically and grapes are harvested manually, with harvest occurring usually in October; fermentation occurs over two to three weeks with indigenous yeasts and minimal or no use of sulfur and without temperature control; the wine is neither fined nor filtered before bottling. 
Real open flavors with big, brambly dark scents; sour cherries, raspberry, sage, fennel, smoke, fire pit and weird floral aromas not normally seen in red wines of this nature. Rustic, wild and salacious. 
 

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