Getting To Know A Varietal – Sangiovese

Sangiovese is a red wine grape that originated in Tuscany.  It is the primary grape in Chianti and Vin Nobile D’ Montipulciano and is also the only grape allowed in Brunello.  It is the most planted grape variety in Italy.  Planting it is increasingly popular in other countries.

Wines made from Sangiovese tend to have a medium bright red color.  The flavor and aroma of cherries is a hallmark of the grape.  Styles range from bright and acidic thirst quenching wines to some very big and complex ones.  It is popular to blend it either with other Italian varieties as in Vin Nobile and many Chianti’s or with Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is the latter idea that helped set off the whole “Super Tuscan” movement.

Most Sangiovese based wines are very food friendly, going well with everything from roast chicken to spaghetti with meat sauce.  They make excellent wines to go with a snack of salami or cheese such as you get at many wine bars.

In addition to the Tuscan ones, I have enjoyed some very good ones from Umbria and a real liking for Rosso Conero’s from the Marche.  There also are some very nice varietal labeled ones being made in the Dry Creek Valley area of Sonoma, California.

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