Sangiovese is Italy’s most commonly planted grape. Its birthplace is in the Tuscan region of Italy where the grape still thrives in the hot, dry climate. It is however a difficult grape for winemakers to work with because of its high acidity, light body and thin skin. It takes careful cultivation and winemaking techniques to produce a high quality single varietal Sangiovese wine. Instead, Sangiovese is often used as the base in red wine blends, most notably as the main component in Chianti. (An interesting note: current Italian wine laws require 90% of all Chianti to be made from Sangiovese.)
The majority of Sangiovese blend wines are intended to be consumed while they are young, with the exception of so called “Super Tuscans” (Super Tuscans are blends made with non-Italian varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and treated or aged with oak. They are so named due to older Italian wine law restrictions on blending.)
Common flavors and aromas associated with Sangiovese include strawberry, blueberry, orange peel, plum. Well-matched for the flavors of Sangiovese are chicken, red meat, fish, lamb, pork, pastas, stews or well-aged cheeses. Chianti often pairs well with pizza and tomato based pasta sauces.