What is sangiovese and how does it taste?

If you’ve ever enjoyed a glass of Chianti, then you’ve tasted sangiovese. It certainly has fruit and floral flavors to offer: strawberries, tart cherries or raspberries, licorice, and violets if you’re lucky. But it also has a wild, savory side with its herbal, oregano hints, black tea or tobacco notes, and suggestions of polished leather. When grown on cooler hillsides, sangiovese vines can yield taut, medium bodied reds with chalky tannins. And when grown on warm and arid sites, sangiovese vines can yield firm, full-bodied, structured wines that reveal an array of flavors after time in the bottle.

Where is sangiovese grown?

Though you can find bottles of sangiovese made in the US, Australia, and South America, sangiovese has largely remained in Italy where it’s known by numerous names.  In Montalcino it’s called brunello. Proprietors in Montepulciano call it prugnolo gentile. Maremma is the home of morellino. All three are clones of sangiovese that have adapted to that specific region.

Some popular sangiovese producers:
What food pairs well with sangiovese?

The mouth watering, palate cleansing acidity of a Chianti makes it a sensational food wine, especially with tomato sauce and cheese based dishes. That means baked pastas like spinach or meat lasagne, a margherita pizza as well as a meat lover’s pizza, even a cheeseburger graced with ketchup. A Chianti also pairs well with salumi and charcuterie, or even an Italian sub. More structured sangiovese-based wines like Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, or Chianti Classico Riserva/Gran Selezione call for fine cuts of meat, game, or special dishes. Roasted lamb, Tuscan sausages with beans, pheasant, Florentine-style steaks, pappardelle with wild boar ragu - all call for a full-bodied sangiovese wine.