Like Tempranillo in Spain, Sangiovese is Italy’s most widely grown grape variety. Cultivated mainly across central Italy, it is the grape behind Tuscany’s finest wines. There are many different styles of Sangiovese wines but they all have delicious Morello cherry fruit, a Mediterranean, herbal savouriness, refreshing acidity and generally powerful if somewhat powdery tannins.
Sangiovese is frequently blended with other varieties to obtain a wider spectrum of flavours and to tame the sometimes-uncompromising tannins and skinny structure. Winemaking varies greatly. To soften the structured tannins, traditional wines mature for up to five years in large, old Slavonian oak barrels. These wines are appreciated for their ethereal scent and lighter colour. More modern Sangiovese is harvested very ripe and matured in new French oak barrels. The wines are generally more concentrated, powerful and darker in colour.
Sangiovese is the basis for Chianti, made and sold in a range of levels from simple reds to complex, aromatic and dense wines. Chianti has more refreshing acidity, fruit and marked tannin than other Tuscan wines. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, grown on clay soils in a warmer climate, has expressive notes of ethereal, earthy truffle, riper and juicier fruit as well as more alcoholic strength. Brunello di Montalcino is made exclusively from Sangiovese Grosso and is elegant, complex and long lived. Morellino di Scansano comes from the Tuscan coast and is fruitier, juicier and less tannic than Sangiovese from other regions.
Today more and more top wines are being made using just Sangiovese grapes as producers have learnt to carefully vinify this grape. However the advent of Super-Tuscan wines about 25 years ago meant that Sangiovese is now blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to make top class wines such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia that are reminiscent of top Bordeaux wines.
- 2016 LibertaToscana IGT0.75l Red€14.10 €11.65A great value Super Tuscan wine made from a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and a small quantity of Sangiovese grapes grown on the Colazzi estate. The wine brings out the best of each of these grapes: Merlot's soft tannins, fresh, red fruit aroma’s from the Cabernet Franc, Syrah’s spicy richness and the elegant fragrance of Sangiovese. The wine owes its name to a donation that the City of Florence made to eight local families, among which the former owners of Collazzi, who had valiantly fought for the city’s freedom. Dark, violet coloured with soft, ripe red fruit flavours, attractive and fresh on the palate with sweet tannins and good balance. As the vineyard grows older, the wine becomes richer and more expressive giving it a lot of personality. Matches well with pasta, tomato sauce, meats and cheeses.
- 2015 I BastioniChianti Classico0.75l RedNew€15.29 €12.64Produced on the Collazzi estate just above Florence and grown in the south-western facing amphitheatre of well-drained gravel soils, this is a classic Chianti with great flavours of dark cherries and plums characteristic of the Sangiovese grape. There is freshness and spice from Sangiovese balanced by small amounts of Merlot and Malvasia Nera to round out the wine. Aged for 12 months in used oak, this is a lovely, juicy Chianti to drink young and pair with classic Italian dishes such as spaghetti bolognese, pizza and meatballs in tomato sauce. Drink now for next 2-3 years.