Sangiovese aims to please. Whatever you're into, it's into. It's that old friend that's up for anything, no matter what crazy scheme you have cooked up. Thanks to a grape that alters its genetics to fit the surrounding environment, Sangiovese offers many tasting wines, so if you can't find one suited to your flavor palate, there's something seriously wrong with your taste buds.
Varieties of Sangiovese range from earthy and rustic to more round and fruit-forward. But one thing is sure, Sangiovese always exhibits cherry flavors and subtle notes of tomato, making it quite unlike any other wine in the world. In fact, the most desired Sangiovese wines strike a perfect balance of the two. We normally wouldn't recommend eating a tomato-and-cherry smoothie or anything, but in a wine, these flavors know how to complement one another.
The History of Sangiovese:
Sangiovese is the most well-known and widely planted red grape variety in the world. It's a finicky, thin-skinned grape that likes to linger on the vine, taking its sweet time to mature and ripen. But the best wines are never rushed.
Some date Sangiovese back to Roman times, where the wine was known as the "blood of Jove," referring to the god Jupiter. The first written documents mention the wine in 1590, where a writer identified the grape and noted that if winemakers weren't careful, they ran the risk of turning the wine into vinegar.
Sangiovese didn't gain prominence until the 18th century when it was recognized throughout Tuscany and described as an excellent blending wine. Sangiovese was even used with Canaiolo to create one of the first Chianti recipes.
Due to the grape's high acidic content, making Sangiovese wine can be problematic. Modern winemakers have devised processes that add texture and body to the grape, adjusting the length of fermentation and using oak treatments to bring out the best flavors. The grapes typically require a longer maceration period than most wines, which can last up to one month. After that, the wine is transferred to barrels for fermentation.
How to Drink:
Sangiovese is very food-friendly and works great as a mealtime wine. Like most light reds, Sangiovese is best enjoyed chilled between 53 and 59 degrees. If you don't have a wine cooler, simply pop it in the fridge for up to 30 minutes or in an ice bucket for 20 minutes. Pour into a stemmed wine glass and enjoy.
How to Pair:
Sangiovese wine is classically Italian, so it naturally goes with herbs and tomatoes. So, what we're saying is . . . pizza and classic pasta dishes. When you need to crack open a bottle at that pizza-delivery party, Sangiovese is your go-to. It also pairs nicely with cured sausages and hard cheeses.
How Do You Say Sangiovese?
Sangiovese Pronunciation: Sangiovese = "San-jo VAY-seh"