Understanding the Sangiovese
The Sangiovese grape is one of the most popular Italian red grapes, as it can be found through a large portion of central Italy, accounting for 10% of all of Italy’s vineyards. It has been a part of the Italian wine profile since the 16th century, with many clones being produced since then.
The Sangiovese is easily adaptable to its environments so there is a wide range of flavors based on the region of Italy in which the bottle was produced. In general, all Sangiovese wines will exhibit cherry flavors and notes of tomato, but because of its adaptable nature, some may be more earthy and some will be fruit-forward.
In regards to the fruit notes, one can expect tart cherry, strawberry, red plum, and fig flavors, and the most rustic bottles will have aromas of leather and smoke, as well as a variety of Italian herbs like thyme and oregano.
This wine is very high in acidity and tannins, giving it more of a savory taste, so it pairs well with hearty dishes, especially those of the Italian cuisine. Actually, by eating herbs and tomatoes with the Sangiovese, you will actually bring out the sweetness within it. Use this wine as an excuse to get a little friendly with butter or olive oil, as the fat will help cut the high tannin level.
Although there are some countries who have begun to produce the Sangiovese, like Australia and the United States, it’s still very hard to find outside of Italy. Look for Chiantis or Brunellos for the best of the Sangiovese grape.