I want to devote a few blog posts to Italy’s most widely planted varietal, Sangiovese. Planted throughout the country, it has its greatest concentration in the center of Italy-Tuscany, Umbria, Emilia-Romagna and the Marche.
An ancient varietal that has had qualitative ups and downs in recent times, Sangiovese has benefited greatly from modern clonal research. It is a later ripening grape which was often harvested too early and overcropped, the results being lightly colored, high acid, insipid wines. These type of wines are much less common today thanks to proper clonal selection and controlled yields. Sangiovese’s characteristics can vary greatly depending on the clone used and the soil types and elevations where it is planted. It has a particular affinity for limestone (much like Pinot Noir) and at its best has telltale scents of cherries and earth, along with flavors of tart cherries, leather, tea and tobacco. Its tannic structure varies, with the Sangiovese Grosso (found in Brunello) generally having more structure than Sangiovese Piccolo (widely planted in Tuscany).
In the coming weeks, I will devote blog posts to the Tuscan DOCG wines, Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino. These are arguably the greatest wines made from Sangiovese, and both are as versatile as they are delicious. Stay tuned to find out how this finicky grape went from fiasco to fantastic.
Study up on these wines by checking out our retail selection of Sangiovese.
In this HDH Blog series, Juicy Details, Senior Consignment Operations Associate, David Larson, delves deeper into the world of wine. Whether he’s discussing soil types of specific vineyards, laws within different appellations, or the weather of a certain region, these fascinating tidbits of knowledge help lift the veil on fine and rare wines and reveal what sets the best wines apart from the rest.