Sangiovese is the most planted grape in Italy, however, the most popular and known region for it is Tuscany. With high acidity and high tannins, this grape makes some beautiful wines in a range of flavours. From rich, savoury, elegant to rustic and full-bodied.

Sangiovese Cheat Sheet

Chianti, a wine synonymous with Tuscany, has Sangiovese as its main grape variety.

With savoury flavours of sour cherry, plum, sun-dried tomatoes, fig and dried herbs, this Italian grape is used to make some great wines like Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino. It is also the main grape variety used in the blends of  Chiantis, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Super Tuscans. The use of oak rounds off the high acidity and tannins of the grape and adds flavours of leather, tobacco, and chestnut.

The grape can make a range of wines from the earthy, rustic Chianti Classico to full-body, age-worthy Brunellos, to well-structured Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (not related to the Montepulciano grape at all!).

Sangiovese is also used to make semi-sparkling wines and sweet wines like Passito (made from dried grapes) and Vin Santo.

The most widely planted variety in Italy, it thrives in the limestone soil of the central region and produces wines with powerful aromas and flavours. In northern Italy, the grape has little presence which is concentrated in the north of Emilia-Romagna. In the south, it is mainly used in blends with the regional grapes such as Primitivo, Montepulciano and Nero d’Avola.

Sangiovese Food Pairing

Sangiovese is a great food wine. It pairs nicely with a lot of Mediterranean food. Given its tannic, savoury, tart cherry and rustic styles, my favourite food to pair with a bottle of chianti is a classic pizza!

However, it also pairs well with all sorts of pasta, grilled vegetables and cheese. Vegetables and meats with herbs like oregano, thyme, basil, and sage also compliment the flavours of the wine beautifully. Some food pairing recommendations are:

* Spaghetti and meatballs. Sundried tomato and sour cherry flavours of the wine match well with the tomato sauce of the dish.

* Pizza – Meatlovers or Pepperoni. Earthy, rustic flavours of the pizza with a glass of chianti is a perfect pair.

* Herbed Ricotta Cheese (in pasta, soups or salads) goes well with the herbaceous flavours of the wine and matches its flavour intensity.

* Veggie Delight Flatbread or Pizza. The earthiness of the mushrooms, vegetables and herbs along with the flavour of bread/pizza crust bring out the flavours of the wine and match the medium body of Sangiovese and its flavour profile.

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