Sangiovese may not be the world’s most well-known red grape, however if you have ever tried Chianti from Italy, then you are already familiar with it. Today Sangiovese is planted not only in several Italian wine regions, but also further afield, from Corsica to the Americas to Australasia. However it is in its native Tuscany that Sangiovese comes into its own, in wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Sangiovese ripens late and prefers chalk-rich, well-drained soils with optimum sun exposure. The resulting wines can vary in style and quality, depending on origin and winemaking techniques. Often found in blends with native Italian grapes or jet-set varieties Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot in high-style ‘Super-Tuscan’ blends, Sangiovese is characterised by its high acidity, firm tannins, unmistakable sour cherry flavours and a tarry, earthy quality.
Photo: Sangiovese grape harvested at Villa Vignamaggio, Tuscany