A grape scarcely found outside of Italy, Sangiovese is thought to be derived from the Latin “sanguis Jovis” which means “blood of Jupiter.” A bit of an opportunist, Sangiovese alters its genetics to fit any environment which can lead to varying tasting notes of rustic and earthy to fruit-forward wines. Typically, Sangiovese offers notes of tart cherry, roasted tomato, sweet balsamic, oregano, leather, and tobacco, which is perfect alongside tomato-based dishes, roasted meats, and spicy food.
Sangiovese’s versatility allows it to be grown in a wide range of regions that all produce vastly different Sangiovese wines from each other. The main grape in Chianti, Sangiovese is normally blended with lesser-known Tuscan grapes to produce a wine with red fruit, violet, dried herb and bitter cherry notes. Whereas Brunello di Montalcino is made from 100% Sangiovese, which can offer notes of cherry, dried cranberry, tilled soil, and espresso when young, and candied cherry, fig, anise, and leather notes when aged.
Ready to explore? Here are some wines to try:
Grape Photo Courtesy of UC Davis