Wine Folly Logo
Deep Dive

Guide to Sangiovese Wine

- Updated

It might surprise you to know that Sangiovese is actually quite scarse outside of Italy. In terms of world plantings, Sangiovese is less abundant than even little-known Mourvedre.
 
The Sangiovese grape is a bit of a chameleon; easily altering its genetics to fit the environment. There are many different mutations of the variety all over Italy, which results in very different tasting wines. From the delicate floral strawberry aromas of Montefalco Rosso to the intensely dark and tannic wines of Brunello di Montalcino, Sangiovese wine has something for everyone.
 
Learn the basic aromas and flavors as well as potential food pairings with Sangiovese wines. Also, get the proper pronunciation of the word “Sangiovese” so you can order with confidence. Ciao Bella!
 

The Ultimate Guide to Sangiovese Wine

The Color of Sangiovese Wine

Sangiovese Wine Profile

FRUIT: Tart Cherry, Red Plum, Strawberry, Fig
OTHER: Roasted Pepper, Tomato, Leather, Clay, Brick, Tobacco, Smoke, Oregano, Thyme, Dried Roses, Potpourri
OAK: Yes. Usually light oak aging in neutral oak barrels.
TANNIN: High
ACIDITY: High
AGEABILITY: Yes. 4-7 years (normal) & 10-18 years (Brunello di Montalcino)
COMMON SYNONYMS & REGIONAL NAMES:
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Prugnolo Gentile, Sangiovese Grosso, Brunello di Montalcino, Nielluccio, Rosso di Montepulciano, Morellino, Rosso di Montalcino, Montefalco Rosso, Chianti, Morellino di Scansano

Sangiovese Wine Regions

~175,000 acres worldwide (70,820 hectares)

  • Italy (~155,000 acres) Toscana, Umbria, Campania
  • Corsica (4,800 acres) Patrimonio AOC (Nielluccio)
  • Argentina (2,010 acres) Mendoza
  • United States (~2,000 acres) California, Washington
  • Romania, Australia and Chile

 

The Taste of Sangiovese Wine

Sangiovese is savory. Because of its ability to be a chameleon, Sangiovese wines offer a wide range of tastes from very earthy and rustic–as is the case with many Chianti Classico– to round and fruit-forward. Regardless of where it’s grown, it always exhibits cherry flavors with more subtle notes of tomato.
the-color-of-sangiovese-compared-to-other-red-wine
They next time you try a Sangiovese, dedicate yourself to sit and sniff it for a while. Over time you’ll find that aromas move towards dried cherries, figs and roses –especially if the wine is older.

Fruit Forward vs. Rustic

The most sought after Sangiovese-based wines have a balance between their fruit and earth components. So to say ‘fruit-forward’ is better than ‘rustic’ really doesn’t do it justice. Suffice it to say, if you usually drink American wines, attempt to make your first Italian Sangiovese purchase a fruit-forward style. Heya.. How do you order Italian wine anyway?

Ciacci-Piccolomini-d'Aragona-Brunello-di-Montalcino-fruit-forward

Fruit-Forward Sangiovese

A classic example of a fruit-forward producer of Sangiovese is Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona. This particular wine tastes of clove-spice and cherries; it’s like drinking Christmas. The people at Wine Spectator liked it so much they awarded it top 10 of 2012. Damn Jim, get out your wallet.
 
Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino


2006 Casisano Colombaio Brunello di Montalcino earthy rustic sangiovese wine

Rustic & Traditional Sangiovese

Grippy tannins, not dissimilar to putting a black tea bag in your mouth, are highlighted with dark chocolate and smoke flavors. Hints of oregano in the aftertaste make this wine taste 100% savory from start to finish. Pairs perfectly with rich steaks and black pepper… grrrr!
 
Casisano Colombaio Brunello di Montalcino


Sangiovese Food Pairing

flatbread-pizza-with-tomatos-spinach-cheese
Honesty first, I eat pizza at least 3 times a week. credit

Sangiovese pairs with a wide range of foods because of its medium weighted body and savory character. Use Sangiovese’s savory as a congruent flavor with herbs and tomatos. This technique will actually bring out more fruity flavors in the wine.

A Sangiovese with high tannins will work perfectly with rich roasted meat, cured sausages and hard cheeses.

Vegetarians Delight!
When pairing Sangiovese wine with vegetarian fare, be sure to work with lipids like butter and olive oil so that the richness in the fat helps cut through the wines’ tannins. Also, use less sugar on braised or roasted veggies to ensure the wine tastes fruitier.

Different Types of Wine - Updated

Explore New Wine Everyday

Live the wine lifestyle. Use this poster to find your next bottle of wine by taste.

Buy Poster

Sources
Argentina Sangiovese Information winesofargentina.org
Wine Grape Acreages in US nass.usda.gov
Corsica Grape Varieties Enclycopedie des Vins de Corse (1990)
Jancis Robinson’s Thoughts on Sangiovese

Buy the Book - Get the Course!

Get the Wine 101 Course ($29 value) FREE with the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition.

Learn More

AboutMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

Cover Image for 8 Dark Horse Red Wines from Southern Italy

8 Dark Horse Red Wines from Southern Italy

Get excited for a dark horse Italian wine. These 8 wines from Southern Italy aren’t well-known, but you just might crown them a winner.

Read More
Cover Image for Everything You Want to Know About Orange Wine

Everything You Want to Know About Orange Wine

Orange wine is a bit of a misnomer because the it isn’t referring to a wine made with oranges. In fact, orange wine is made with white wine grapes. Find out more about this fascinating wine and where it comes from…

Read More
Cover Image for Barolo, Barbaresco, and the “Other” Nebbiolos of Italy

Barolo, Barbaresco, and the “Other” Nebbiolos of Italy

With all the news coming out about the Barolo and Barbaresco, it’s the perfect time to brush up on the amazing grape behind these wines.

Read More
Cover Image for Lovers of Big Reds Look To Alicante Bouschet

Lovers of Big Reds Look To Alicante Bouschet

One of the few red grapes with red flesh, Alicante Bouschet is an oddity that makes big, juicy red wines.

Read More
Cover Image for Why You Want To Drink More Tannat Wine

Why You Want To Drink More Tannat Wine

Is Tannat the next Malbec? Tannat wine has more gusto than Cabernet Sauvignon, and wines from up-and-coming Uruguay are surprisingly affordable! Here’s what you need to know.

Read More
Cover Image for The Magic of Moscato d’Asti

The Magic of Moscato d’Asti

It’s hard not to fall in love with Moscato d’Asti. This perfumed, sweet Italian white wine has captivated wine drinkers of all kinds.

Read More