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Dec 9, 2017

This week, we revive the Grape Miniseries from podcasts of old to bring you: Sangiovese! The star of Central Italy that does amazing things when taken care of. 

Here are the notes:

History of Sangiovese

  • Spotty history -- probably has existed a long time but wasn't mentioned until the 1500s.
  • The name likely comes from the monks in Santarcangelo di Romagna at foot of Monte Giove, who chose the name of sanguis Jovis when forced to call wine by name other than vino. It could have also come from the ancient language of Etruscans, who used similar to words for an offer to the gods


Grape origins

  • Probably from Sicily and Calabria – in 16th century there were grape exchanges between northern and southern Italian regions
  • A cross of two reds: Ciliegiolo and Calabrese di Montenuovo


Climate, land, soil

  • Needs warmth to ripen, but not too much
  • Ripens better in Montalcino than Chianti – nights are warmer, less rainfall in Montalcino
  • Chianti –  only 10% of the land good for cineyards
  • Maremma – rich, broad, hot with short growing season. High alcohol, low aroma
  • Autralia – Canberra in NSW, other warm areas show promise
  • California – more intense sunlight, different character
  • Soils –Tuscan soil is varied. The best for Sangiovese is galestro and albarese
    • Soils are a challenge for New World Sangiovese winemakers


  • Important to get ripeness in the vineyard
  • Traditional aging in large casks of Slavonian oak or Chestnut
  • Modern styles use small French oak barriques
  • Sangiovese is often blended – Canaille Nero, Coloring, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah are popular partners
    • Sangio needs extra color, richness – low in acylated anthocyanins means light color

Sangiovese Flavors

  • Light juicy wine or huge complex ones or harsh
  • Traditional wines: cherries, violets, tomatoe, herbs, tea-like notes, high acid, high tannin, not fruity
  • International wines: vanilla, spice, oak, dark fruit, higher alcohol


Return of the Clones: 

  • Clones – color, flavor, concentration of fruity, 102 clones of Sangiovese
  • 1988 – Chianti Classico Conzorzio with Universities of Pisa and Florence– launched Chianti Classsico 2000 project to improved quality

Found in:

  • Italy: Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Puglia, Sicily, Umbria
  • US: Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara. Washington State, New Mexico
  • Other North America: Mexico, Ontario, BC
  • Australia – growing
  • Other New World: NZ, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc


The difference in Tuscan wines using Sangiovese:

  • Maremma: dark black fruit, herbal
  • Chianti Classico – cooler – sour cherry, red berry, violet, tea leaf
  • Brunello di Montalcino – 100% Sangiovese, different depending on where it's grown in the appellation
  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano –  earthy, rich, lovely
  • Emilia-Romagna – dark, dense, richer than Tuscan versions
  • Marche – Rosso Piceno, Rosso Conero – usually blended with Montepulciano – can be gloppy
  • Umbria -- fuller, denser than Tuscan versions


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