The sangiovese is a black grape variety originating in ancient Rome that owes its name to the deity Jupiter. Its name, in fact, comes from the Latin 'Sanguis Jovis', meaning 'blood of Jupiter'. The sangiovese vine variety is cultivated in Italy mainly in Tuscany, Romagna and Marche where it finds ideal climatic conditions for the production of extraordinary red wines. Its ability to adapt to various soil and climate environments has increased its popularity in Italy and around the world. Sangiovese is the basis of some of Italy's most renowned wines, such as Chianti DOCG, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG.

Synonyms and clones

  • Synonyms: grechetto rosso, sangioveto (official). Others: brunello, brunello di Montalcino, calabrese, candisco, maglioppa, montepulciano, morellino, nerino, pignolo, prugnolo di Montepulciano, prugnolo gentile, sangineto, sangiogheto, sangiovese dal cannello lungo, sangiovese grosso, sangiovese nostrano, sangiovese piccolo, sangiovese romagnolo, sangioveto grosso, san zoveto, uva tosca.

Sangiovese: characteristics

... of the plant

  • Appearanceleaf medium, pentagonal, pentalobed, with open U-shaped petiolar sinus. The upper page is glabrous and bright bottle green. The underside has an almost silky arachnoid tomentum and is light green in colour. Petiole medium-long and medium coarse, glabrous.
  • Maturation: from the third ten days of September to the second ten days of October. Bunch medium to medium-large, cylindrical-pyramidal, with one or two wings, fairly compact. Grape medium, subrounded to ellipsoid, fairly uniform in shape. Peel thin, but consistent, pruinose and black-purple in colour. Pulp almost fleshy with barely rose-coloured juice.
  • Productivityabundant and constant.
  • Vigour: notable : notable.
  • Resistance to adversity: good.
Negroamaro vine leaf

... of wine produced

Sangiovese produces legendary wines suitable for very long bottle ageing.

  • Visual examination: deep ruby red turning to garnet with age.
  • Olfactory examination: intense and fine. Recognitions include fresh to jammy cherry, sour cherry, morello cherry in spirit, oregano flowers, coffee, black pepper, dried plum and violet flowers.
  • Taste-olfactory examination: fresh, soft, alcoholic, balanced, tannic. Structured and with a long finish (toasted if it has been aged in wood).

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Sangiovese: areas of cultivation

  • Italy: (suitable and recommended areas) Piedmont, Apulia, Sardinia and the province of Rovigo; (suitable areas) Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Brands, Molise, Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Umbria; (areas under observation) Verona province.
  • World: (in order of quantity): Italy; Argentina (Mendoza); France (Corsica); United States (California; Washington); Australia (South Australia); Chile (Maule).

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Sangiovese: Italian DOCG and DOC wines where it is allowed

  • DOCG: Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Conero, Montecucco Sangiovese, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane, Morellino di Scansano, Suvereto, Terre Tollesi or Tullum, Torgiano Rosso Riserva, Val di Cornia Rosso or Rosso della Val di Cornia, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
  • DOC: Alcamo, Alghero, Amelia, Aprilia, Arborea, Assisi, Bolgheri, Barco Reale di Carmignano, Botticino, Brindisi, Cacc'e' Mmitte di Lucera, Candia dei Colli Apuani, Capalbio, Capriano del Colle, Castel San Lorenzo, Castelli Romani, Cerveteri, Cilento, Circeo, Colli Altotiberini, Colli d'Imola, Colli del Trasimeno or Trasimeno, Colli dell'Etruria Centrale, Colli della Sabina, Colli di Faenza, Colli di Luni, Colli di Rimini, Colli Etruschi Viterbesi or Tuscia, Colli Lanuvini, Colli Maceratesi, Colli Martani, Colli Perugini, Colli Pesaresi, Colli Romagna Centrale, Colli Tortonesi, Colli di Levanto, Colline Lucchesi, Tortona, Delia Nivolelli, Elba, Esino, Gioia del Colle, Grance Senesi, Grottino di Roccanova, Lago di Corbara, Leverano, Lizzano, Maremma Toscana, Matera, Menfi, Molise Monreale, Montecarlo, Montecucco, Montefalco, Monteregio di Massa Marittima, Montescudaio, Nettuno, Orcia, Orta Nova, Parrina, Pomino, Reggiano, Riviera del Garda Classico, Roma, Romagna, Rosso di Cerignola, Rosso di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Rosso Orvietano or Orvietano Rosso, Rosso Piceno or Piceno, Sambuca di Sicilia, San Gimignano, San Ginesio, San Severo, San Torpè, Sannio, Sant'Antimo, Santa Margherita in Belice, Sciacca, Sicilia, Sovana, Tarquinia, Terratico di Bibbona, Terre di Casole, Terre di Cosenza, Terre di Pisa, Todi, Torgiano, Val d'Arbia, Val d'Arno di Sopra or Valdarno di Sopra, Val di Cornia, Val Polcevera, Valdichiana Toscana, Valdinievole, Velletri, Vignanello, Vin Santo del Chianti, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Vin Santo di Carmignano, Vin Santo di Montepulciano
Sangiovese grape bunch

Conclusion

The virtuous sommelier should not limit himself to the most famous appellations, but should be open to objectively evaluating wine without prejudices - neither positive nor negative - dictated by the label. Outside Italy, Sangiovese has gained popularity in countries such as the United States (think of California and in particular the Napa Valley), where it is often used both on its own and in blends with other international grape varieties. Thanks to its favourable climate and the interest of local winegrowers in Italian grape varieties, Australia has also successfully experimented with its cultivation. In South America, particularly in Argentina and Chile thanks to their ideal climatic conditions, Sangiovese has proven to give interesting wines with a complex nose and good ageing potential in the bottle.

This is why a good sommelier should treasure what he or she has studied and then really open up to the world of wine: open minds, in fact, can enjoy and later share - amateur or business - extraordinary labels from every corner of the world.

Sources:

© Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, National Catalogue of Vine Varieties.

© Bassi C., Sommelier: the illustrated manual, Cammeo DiVino, Reggio Emilia, 2024 pp. 180-182

© Cover image: Tenute del Cerro

Other black grape varieties to be studied:

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