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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sangiovese—Italy’s Most Planted Grape

        Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano & Chianti all come from Sangiovese
If you’ve been to Italy and sampled their wine, there’s a very good chance it was a Sangiovese.  If you’ve been to Tuscany you’ve definitely had Sangiovese…Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano are all Sangiovese.   Surprised?  It’s no wonder as Italy’s naming of wines is often difficult for many non-Italians to grasp.

Sangiovese is the most planted red grape in all of Italy…considering the huge amount of vines and the number of grape varieties that’s saying something.  The largest percentage of Sangiovese is in Central Italy (Tuscany and Umbria).  But, the grape is planted in nearly every nook and cranny of Italy, including Sicily in the far south.
Considered the work-horse varietal of Italy, Sangiovese produces everything from table wine in straw flasks to premium wines that sell for hundreds of Euro’s a bottle.  In addition to red, it is used to make rosé, as well as sparkling wines.  Vin Santo, Italy’s hallmark dessert wine, is also vinified from Sangiovese.

Sangiovese is not as aromatic as other reds such as Cabernet, Syrah or Pinot Noir.  For flavor profile, think red fruit.  A young Sangiovese offers flavors of strawberries, often with a hint of spice.  As the wine ages, it readily takes on darker red fruit flavors such as plum and tart cherry.   Herbal notes can be present, as can floral notes such as dried roses.  Sangiovese is fairly acidic with a good amount of tannins, hence, is typically aged in neutral barrels so to not intensify the already tannic structure.

Coming with us on the 2015 villa rental trip to Tuscany and Umbria?  We’ll be sampling several versions of Sangiovese, including the increasingly popular Super-Tuscans (international varieties that are often mixed with Tuscany’s Sangiovese).  If you don’t have a seat on this trip, it is sold out with a waiting list…but don’t wait to try Sangiovese.

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