A Wine Cellar guide to Sangiovese
Sangiovese is the principal black grape of Tuscany and most of central Italy. It is the key component of Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and the sole variety permitted in Brunello di Montalcino. There are at least 14 Sangiovese clones and, as a result, the variety is known by a number of synonyms in Italy.
As a high-yielding variety, quality ranges widely and poor examples abound – largely due to overcropping. Since the 1980s, however, there has been an increased focus on producing top-end Sangiovese and many of the wines are now amongst the world’s most sought-after reds.
The best Sangioveses are balanced and high in acid and tannins, with a flavour profile ranging from fresh cherries and plums through to notes of leather and farmyard. Many of the so-called Super Tuscans are a blend of Sangiovese and international varieties, most notably Cabernet Sauvignon. Others, such as Antinori’s famous Tignanello, are 100% Sangiovese.