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At a glance

Country of Origin: Italy
Region of Origin: Tuscany
Typical Product: Red
Structure: Medium
Climate: Warm - Hot, Dry
Soil Type: Clay/Sand/Limestone
Serving Temp: 57 - 61F
Ageability: 3 to 5
Blends: Chianti
Sauces to Pair:
Meals to Pair:
Other Names*:


Sangiovese's origins lie in Tuscany although how far back is uncertain.  Earliest estimates place it back as far as the Etruscan civilization, which pre-dates the Romans.  The first documented records of Sangiovese are from the 16th century.  Currently it is the most commonly planted Varietal in Italy accounting for approximately 10% of the total wine grape crop.  It's the primary grape in Italy's ubiquitous Chianti's and also the newer Super-Tuscans.

It arrived in California around 1880 and remained a niche grape or one primarily used for blends.  In the late 20th century, higher end Italian vintners began focusing on improving the quality (and image) of their wines resulting in a renewed interest in high end Italian wines.  California's wine industry took notice and coupled with Tuscany's rise to fame as a first class tourist destination, the interest in Tuscan wines grew.  Sangiovese, the most prevalent of them was the beneficiary.  In just over 10 years from 1991, the acreage for Sangiovese in California grew by 1,400 percent.

There is a marked difference between growing reasonable Sangiovese and growing great Sangiovese.  It buds early, ripens late but too much heat can cause fruit to over ripen, robbing the wine of complexity.  A warm (but not hot), long and consistent growing season that is best.  It's an aggressive grower and fertile soil can only add to the problem.  The best Sangiovese usually come from vines that struggle.

Sangiovese is one of the rising stars in the US, particularly in California.  American wine drinkers have begun to realize that there are other red Varietals besides Zinfandel and the omnipresent French brood from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone.  Due to its need for warmer climates, a number of Shenandoah Valley wineries and Paso Robles wineries are now producing Sangiovese.  While a number of California vintners are beginning to produce very good Sangiovese, its best to consider this a work in progress as winemakers are still learning the ideal vineyard practices needed to produce an exceptional Sangiovese.  California has had 60 years or more to refine its Bordeaux wines.  Sangiovese is still in its infancy.

* used in California

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Name Vintage Year Price Tasting Comments
Vino Noceto
2009  $18.00  Noceto Normale 
Vino Noceto
  $24.00  Riserva 
Vino Noceto
2008  $28.00  Hillside Estate Piccolo 
Vino Noceto
2008  $28.00  Marmellata 
2008  $18.00  Private Reserve 
Eberle Winery
2008  $24.00   
Deaver Vineyards
2006  $20.00   
Callaway Vineyard
2008  $28.00  Winemaker's Reserve 
Callaway Vineyard
2011  $18.00  Rose-Special Selection Rose of Sangiovese 
Cru Winery
2009  $35.00  Mariposa 
Dobra Zemlja Winery
2009  $26.00   
Bray Vineyards
2008  $17.00   
Bray Vineyards
2009  $24.00  Sangiovese "La Dama Oscura" 
2009  $24.00  Sangiovese Reposado 
Sarah's Vineyard
2007  $27.00   
2009  $25.00  Estate 
2011  $20.00  Rose 
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