Sangiovese is a very popular Italian grape variety. For quite a long time, Sangiovese grapes have been relegated to the wild grape category. It was not until recently that its excellent winemaking potential was discovered. It is the major variety used in making Chianti and some other popular red wine.
Sangiovese is a very versatile grape variety. It can show a difference in taste when grown in different regions. Its taste can also be easily adjusted through the winemaker’s process and the nuances of climate. For this incredible ability, many wines that originate from Sangiovese vary widely in taste.
In 1960, CSIRO researchers worked on the Sangiovese grape variety in Australia. After the successful identification of regions to favor the growth of Sangiovese in Western and Southern Australia, there has been an increasing search for more regions. This search is also fueled by the huge international success of Italian Sangiovese wines such as Brunello and Chianti.
The Taste Of Sangiovese
Sangiovese wines have a wide variety of taste due to their susceptibility to changes in climate, methods, and regions. However, you should feel a dry taste with higher levels of acidity and a tighter feel of tannins on the taste buds. The mouthfeel can also change with age and refrigeration. The alcohol tone of Sangiovese wines tends to reduce, and the fruity flavors become enhanced when served slightly chilled.
Popular Sangiovese Wine Regions
The Sangiovese is the most dominant variety of grape in Italy. It can be spotted on many vineyards across Italy. A credible source says it makes up at least 10 percent of grape varieties grown in the Italian vineyards.
Quite a number of Sangiovese wine appellations originate from Italy. Two of the most popular ones are Chianti and Montalcino.
Chianti is the most popular region associated with Sangiovese wine, but she prides herself when it comes to the diversity of styles. Chianti makes up about a third of Tuscany. Other Sangiovese-based regions overlap with Chianti. The greater portion of Chianti lies towards the north of Tuscany. For this reason, the grapes are relatively smaller and have higher acidity.
Furthermore, Chianti is often made from 70 percent minimum Sangiovese. The remaining 30 percent is made up of different fruits, earth-based ingredients, and so on. Chianti styles can come fresh and average-bodied or dense and aged. Chianti does not necessarily need to stay long before it is safe to drink. Quite a large variety of Chianti can be consumed young.
Montalcino is located to the south of Siena. There you will find high quality, big-sized, and oak-aged Sangiovese wines. The hills of Montalcino house vineyards that boast of having the best quality Sangiovese grapes. The primary soil type on the hills is Galestro. The soil in the valleys has relatively higher clay content and nutrients from the surrounding sea. Brunello is a variant of Sangiovese and is expected to contain 100 percent of Montalcino’s two dominant varietals. This includes Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino.
As mentioned earlier, both Southern and Western Australia have achieved success with planting Sangiovese. However, most of the popular Australian Sangiovese wines found in supermarkets and bars are products of the Pizzini vineyard, which is located in the Victorian Highlands. Pioneers of Australian Sangiovese, which are situated at Coriole Vineyards in McLaren Vale, started successful Sangiovese vineyards around 1985.
They were able to make the earliest known Australian Sangiovese wines. Other big weights producing quality Australian Sangiovese wines include Stefano De Pieri, Vasarelli, Lark Hill, and Maria’s Table.
It is interesting to know that the demand for Australian Sangiovese wines have almost doubled what it used to be about two decades ago. Australian wineries are now incorporating the Sangiovese into their product lines.
The Future Of Sangiovese
What the future holds for Sangiovese wines is quite spectacular. Apart from the increasing demand for this relatively recent wine varietal, agronomists are still looking for regions to which Sangiovese can adapt.
It is expected that as winemaking techniques in making Sangiovese wines improve, more people will fancy the variety and uniqueness that Sangiovese wines have to offer. The growing number of Australian wineries embracing Sangiovese is also a sign of greater things to come for the Sangiovese wine market.