Wine Down - Sangiovese


Pronounced: san-joe-vay-zay

The main component in the Chianti blend, Sangiovese is a red Italian wine grape variety.

In addition to being blended in Chianti, Sangiovese is also a component of many Super Tuscan wines.

The first recognized Chianti guidelines were developed in 1872 suggesting a blend of 70 percent Sangiovese, 15 percent Canaiolo and 15 percent Malvasia Bianca.

Sangiovese’s name comes from the Latin, meaning the “blood of Jove,” the Roman Jupiter – a nod to early Roman winemaking.

Although Sangiovese is often blended, it is also bottled as a single varietal. Young flavors are spicy-fruity with hints of strawberry. More mature Sangiovese takes on earthy aromas accented by dark fruit.

An Italian grape, Sangiovese was taken to the Americans by immigrants, where it first gained favor in Argentina. The grape had a surge of popularity in California in the late 1980s during the Cal-Ital movement.

Sangiovese wines typically have a light-but-rich, ruby red color.

The bulk of Sangiovese plantings in Virginia is found in the Monticello AVA, but more than a dozen commonwealth wineries offer the grape in varietal or blend vintages.

Sangiovese wines usually have high acidity and moderate tannin levels.

A combination of flavor profiles, as well as acidity and tannins, makes Sangiovese a great wine to pair with classic tomato-based Italian cuisine. It also goes well with liver and fava beans.

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