Description 1 of 3
Species: Vitis Vinifera
Parentage: Offspring of Ciliegiolo & “Calabrese Montenuovo” (A nearly extinct grape variety)
Aliases: Brunello, Sangiovese Grosso
Grape Color: Purple
Regions: Primarily Tuscany; also Romagna, Lazio, Campania, Sicily
Prounounced “San-joh-vay-say,” this Italian wine varietal is Tuscany’s #1 red wine grape. It’s the pistol of Central Italy, with the capability to produce styles ranging from red wines to still wines, sparkling wines to dessert wines, It’s the grape every grape wants to be, with at least 14 Sangiovese clones existing today.
Sangiovese is excellent as a blend, but when used as a sole varietal, it is hard and acidic. Winemakers tend to blend this varietal with Bordeaux grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, and even white wine grapes, sometimes Trebbiano and Malvasia. Sangiovese’ role in Tuscany’s famous Chianti wines is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon’s key presence in Bourdeaux wines -- A typical Chianti wine permits 90% Sangiovese in its contents, amongst less superior white and red wine grapes.
In general, Sangiovese is dependent on the grapes it works with.
High acidity. High tannin content. Thin-skinned, making it highly vulnerable to rotting. As beautifully complex as this grape is, it isn’t the easiest for winemaking. Sangiovese requires warmer, longer growing seasons in order to ripen to its full potential. Too much heat -- it’s flavors weaken. Too much cold -- it risks high acidity. Incorrect fermentation risks turning Sangiovese wine into vinegar. This varietal adapts to all different types of soils, but prospers most with high concentrations of limestone. At its best, Sangiovese produces elegant wines with powerful aromas.
Flavors are dependent upon the region the particular Sangiovese is grown in. Tuscan-Sangiovese tends to be bittersweet, with hints of cherry and violet. Californian Sangiovese will have hints of brighter, redder fruit flavors. Argentinian Sangiovese will also tend to have bitter notes of cherry.
Wines made of Sangiovese have the potential to age gracefully, the most premier vintages up to 20 years, but are best consumed early on in their lifespans.
Description 2 of 3
The great red grape of Central Italy, Sangiovese is the backbone of the various Chiantis, Brunello, Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino, Carmignano, and many other wines, including a number of interesting things emerging from Emilia Romagna. Unfortunately, all Sangiovese is not equal; in addition to the great clones (substrains, if you will) bred to yield wines of astonishing elegance and finesse, there are many others that were bread to produce quantity in centuries past, when wine was one of the primary sources of calories for the rural population (up until the 50s). These clones tend to produce thin harsh wines with green tannins. They are still widely used by those who make jug wine, and one also encounters them in older vineyards; this explains the dramatic jump in quality that often follows when a winery replants. – Description from Kphillips
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