Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Sangiovese is the principle grape in the wines of Tuscany, Italy. It is used to make Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. In fact, within Tuscany you may recognize clonal names like Sangioveto, Prugnolo Gentile, and Morellino. In Tuscany, the Sangiovese grape has been used for hundreds of years, and the production process of the wines includes years of ageing in oak barrels followed by years of bottle age before release. The process is pedigreed and proven, and the wines are beautiful, and rustic
Sangiovese is grown in the United States as well, and we have the opportunity to work with the grape in a unique way. In the new world, Sangiovese can be much more fruit driven, and may not be recognizable by some to be the same grape as that of a Chianti. Generally oak aged domestically, we can use American and French oak barrels which impart different colors, textures, aromas, and flavors to the juice in barrel. We also have a higher threshold for alcohol content. New world versions are really fun to show as a compare/contrast because the fruit usually is brighter and broader. Most new world producers select Sangiovese, as a varietal, in an effort to create an homage to an old world, Tuscan producer. Often they will use new world fruit, and rustic winemaking processes to make a truly unique wine. Generally, the new world expressions are easily identified as not Tuscan, however. It is in fact, quite challenging to recreate the centuries old mustiness of Tuscan cellars.
I offer a class from Calistoga, California using the wines of Castello di Amarosa it is a fun discussion of new world style Sangiovese, that opens the door to discussing the Tuscan origins at a domestic price point.