Sangiovese grape

The Temperamental Sangiovese Grape Variety

Chianti Classico Sangiovese

I attended wine classes at the United States Sommelier Association and hold a second level Sommelier certificate, but I don’t consider myself a sommelier.  I don’t use that word to describe me,  and prefer to save it for someone who is in the wine industry. It’s a French word, and it means a wine steward who’s trained and knowledgable in wines. I am not into fancy wine descriptions, but I can tell you one thing, after drinking and sipping hundreds of wines, I know if a wine is compatible with my palate or not.  By now, my taste buds know exactly what I like.  I prefer Old World wines, full-bodied, earthy with deep ruby colors, aromatic spices, cloves, black peppers, nutmeg, hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, leather, barnyard, licorice with lingering finish. I usually go for a complex wine, with layers of flavors for special occasions.  At times, I also enjoy medium-bodied wines, and New World wines with floral notes. There are so many grape varietals, (varieties)  from so many regions of the world, but, today, I will focus on the Sangiovese grape. It is a very difficult grape to grow because it needs warm weather, and for that reason, vintages can vary from one season to the next. It is considered one of the most widely planted red grape in all of Italy. The Sangiovese grape does particularly well in the terroir of beautiful Tuscany. However, it is a temperamental grape, that requires a lot of attention. It is not easy to keep it balanced, because of its high acidity content. It is harvested late, because the ripening process is slow. Tannins can also be rough. Sangiovese is also blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other grapes to make one of my favorite blends called “Super Tuscan”.

My tasting notes on Tenuta di Renieri:  It is a blend made with mostly Sangiovese, and is from the enchanting region of Chianti. It has the Chianti Classico label, which is a highly rated, small wine-region with a DOCG designation, (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita is the highest designation in Italian wines. The wines must be evaluated by a tasting committee before they can be bottled, to assure the highest quality standards.) This wine shows unique characteristics, and bottles from that region have the seal of a black rooster to distinguish them. It’s a beautifully balanced wine with alluring nose of nutmeg spice, bursting with flavors of lush cherries, with a long finish that keeps you begging for more. Drink this vintage now through 2016.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2006

Marchese Antinori, Chianti Classico, Riserva 2006. It’s an excellent wine, very complex with an everlasting finish.

Winemaker’s Notes:

“92 points Antonio Galloni (Wine Advocate): …positively sparkles on the palate. Dark wild cherries, minerals, graphite, violets and spices are just some of the nuances that flow effortlessly… The French oak contributes an additional measure of volume and ampleness I doubt the wine truly needs given the superlative quality of the fruit in 2006. A rich fabric of minerals reappears to frame the intense, deeply satisfying finish… The 2006 is one of the finest vintages I can remember tasting. (Oct 2010)”

Massarena, Chianti Classico Riserva 2009
Distinctive flavors of cherry, a superb wine for that special occasion. Pairs nicely with a tomato-sauce based dish.
Poggerino Vendemmia Chianti Classico 2011
Lovely wine, with flavors of plum, with hints of vanilla, medium-bodied, made with 100% Sangiovese grape

I hope you will pull yourself together, and pour yourself a Sangiovese! I would love to hear your experience with this wine variety. If you are not too familiar with Italian wines, just visit a large chain store, and get the help of a wine clerk. Many of them are highly trained and very knowledgeable. What I like the most about buying wine in large chain stores, if you are NOT happy with a wine, you can return it, and they will gladly refund your money, or give you a store credit. Don’t get me wrong, I also love to support the small boutique shops, as they carry some very unique wines. Just get out there, and start exploring the world of wines. There are so many of them, and so little time!

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost! Happy Sipping!

6/22/2017 Update – I recently attended the world renown school: WSET:  Wine, Spirit Education Trust and received a Level 2 certificate. I passed with merit.

Sangiovese Grape
Image courtesy Colombaia in Chianti




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