[Doniree Walker]


Sangiovese - What is it and where’s it from?


Sangiovese is the quintessential Italian red grape, with spicy strawberry flavors and a natural oakiness that comes out when aged in barrels. Grown mainly in central Italy and dating back to the Roman era, it was brought to North and South America by immigrants, where it is now most often used in red wine blends.


Sangiovese has a high acidity and light body characteristics, making it difficult to perfect on its own. Winemakers can add body and texture by using low-yield vines (darker grapes), adjusting length and temperature of fermentation, aging extensively in oak barrels, or by blending with other, darker red grapes, such as Cabernet, Syrah or Merlot.


Old World Tuscan Sangiovese tends to have more bittersweet notes of cherry, violet and tea, while New World blends of Sangiovese made in California feature bright, red fruit flavors. Argentinian blends fall in the middle, boasting juicy, red fruit flavors that end on a bitter cherry note.


Sangiovese needs a long growing season, and too many extremes can be damaging to the crop. Too much rain and the grapes may rot; too much heat dilutes the flavors. For these reasons, growing Sangiovese in Italy can be tricky. Sangiovese that grows in the Columbia Valley AGA in Washington state, however, tends to do well as the region is hot, dry, and the grapes require little irrigation. 



[Doniree Walker]


How to Pair


Sangiovese has a high acidity and moderate alcohol content that make it easy to pair with a variety of foods, depending on the blend. Chianti (which is typically 75-100% Sangiovese) pairs well with tomato-based pasta and pizza sauces, while the herbal flavors of dishes such as meatloaf and roast chicken bring out the herbal notes in lighter varietal blends. An exceptionally oaky Sangiovese plays well with grilled or smoked meats, and blends featuring heavier red grapes (like Cabernet, Merlot or Syrah) work well with heavier dishes, such as steaks or thick bean soups.

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