Sangiovese Three Ways: Italy's Most Versatile Grape

Posted January 27, 2015

Ian Dorin


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What goes better with cold, snowy weather than Sangiovese? I'm sure there's a few other grapes, but Sangiovese is as versatile as it comes. Its penchant for mutation makes it extremelt adaptable. In some regions, they don't even referred to it by the name Sangiovese, but by the clonal mutation that it is identified as. The only other time you really see that is in Spain with Tempranillo.

2010 Marchesi Torrigiani Fiorentini Chianti

Ah, Chianti. Chianti has been a rollercoaster ride of an appellation over the last 30-35 years. Up until the early 80's, producers were required to use local white grapes in a minimum percentage to produce Chianti. Finally this rule was changed (for the better), and Chianti really took on it's own identity. Then they expanded the boundaries of the region, and made it even more confusing! Truth be told, Chianti is actually one of the great sites of the world for value. Rarely do the best wines sell for more than $70 a bottle (consider that versus Bordeaux or Burgundy), and every so often you can find great, inexpensive values like this one. Chianti can range from full and fruity, to soft and charming (like this wine). There are barrel aging requirements, which is based on the appellation. For Chianti DOCG, it's a minimum of 3 months in oak, and at least 11.5% alcohol, ranging up to Riserva Chianti Classico, which is 24 months in oak, and 12.5% alcohol minimum. Throughout Chianti, you need at least 70% Sangiovese.

2010 Valdipiatta Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano

Here's where the clones attack! Prugnolo Gentile is king, and can be blended with Caniolo and Mammolo, after aging for two years minimum. Where things get confusing, though, is that this grape is grown in Montepulciano, which is not to be confused with the more common Montepulciano grape, which is grown in Abruzzo, much farther south from Tuscany. These wines are usually quite dense and structured, and in the case of the Valdipiatta, are also quite rich and full.

2010 Poggio Antico Brunello Di Montalcino

Not just Sangiovese, but Sangiovese Grosso (named for it's large berry size). This grape carries more distinction than just being big, it also has the ability to age in barrel for at least two years, and in some instances, up to seven! The zone of Montalcino also requires the vines to be at least ten years old before the wine can be used for Brunello (a rare global distinction, as most areas have no minimum vine age requirements, or if it does, it's usually three years). There is a natural, large cost of making Brunello, as the wines don't hit market until five years after the vintage begins. These also come in all shapes and sizes, as there are eight distinct growing zones in Montalcino, and the most important variable is the exposition to the sun.


Item: 79257

750 mL

Retail: $29.99

$23.98 per btl

Product Label.

Poggio Antico Brunello Di Montalcino

97 James Suckling - Jamessuck...

Item: 86089

750 mL

Retail: $84.99

$67.98 per btl

Product Label.

Marchesi Torrigiani Fiorentini Chianti

89 Antonio Galloni - Vinous

Item: 86097

750 mL

Retail: $15.99

$13.99 per btl