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Sangiovese

The Sangiovese grape is one of the most famous, important and widespread red varieties on the Italian peninsula and has become a symbol of Italian culture throughout the world. It is a very old variety, whose roots lie in the Apennine territory between the regions of Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and Marche. Its central role in the Italian wine scene is reflected in the great variety of biotypes that still exist, in the immense heritage of local traditions and in the more than 50 denominations of origin that allow for its use. From the most classic types to the modern Supertuscan, this grape variety can give life to very different expressions, which are always characterised by good freshness, structure, elegance and longevity. In Tuscany, for example, it is the key player in wines that have become true international stars, in Romagna it generally takes on a fresher and more versatile profile, while in Umbria it is warm, expressive and generous. Regardless of how it is presented, however, it always demonstrates great character, backbone, elegant freshness and territorial typicality.

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The Sangiovese grape is one of the most famous, important and widespread red varieties on the Italian peninsula and has become a symbol of Italian culture throughout the world. It is a very old variety, whose roots lie in the Apennine territory between the regions of Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and Marche. Its central role in the Italian wine scene is reflected in the great variety of biotypes that still exist, in the immense heritage of local traditions and in the more than 50 denominations of origin that allow for its use. From the most classic types to the modern Supertuscan, this grape variety can give life to very different expressions, which are always characterised by good freshness, structure, elegance and longevity. In Tuscany, for example, it is the key player in wines that have become true international stars, in Romagna it generally takes on a fresher and more versatile profile, while in Umbria it is warm, expressive and generous. Regardless of how it is presented, however, it always demonstrates great character, backbone, elegant freshness and territorial typicality.

From the Blood of Jupiter to Sangiovese: the History of this Apennine Star

The history of Sangiovese wine is an extensive, exciting and compelling one that explains how this ancient grape variety, indigenous to central Italy, became the major protagonist of the Apennine Mountains.

Its origins are contested between the Romagna and Tuscany regions, although it is certain that it was already known and cultivated by the Etruscans and that it was renamed by the Romans as 'sanguis Jovis', or blood of Jupiter, from which it takes its current name. According to this etymology, the area of origin is probably located around Mount Jupiter near the village of Sant'Arcangelo di Romagna, although other suggestions based on Tuscan place names have also been raised.

The first certain evidence dates back to the 16th and 18th centuries, when it was mentioned in Tuscan dialect as Sangioveto by Giovan Vettorio Soderini and Bartolomeo Bimbi. In the meantime, the term Prugnolo was defined and established in the municipality of Montepulciano to identify the same grape variety. In the Romagna region, the most significant and authoritative evidence comes from a document in the Faenza State Archives dating back to 1651, which proves the presence of 'sanzuvesa' grapes in the territory.

During the 19th century, the development of modern genetics and ampelography made it possible to study, identify and classify the great variety of local clones present throughout the central Apennines.

It was thus possible to classify the many biotypes that still exist in two large groups according to the size of the berry: Piccolo ('small') and Grosso ('large'). The Morellino and a few other territorial wines belong to the first type, while the Brunello, Prugnolo di Montepulciano and the Romagna belong to the second. Today, this classification tends to be rejected as it is too general, although the traditions of the territory and the local names of the different varieties, which all belong to the same large family, remain extraordinarily vital.

The great success of Tuscan Sangiovese around the world, often in combination with international varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in the production of the prestigious Supertuscans, has contributed to its enormous popularity. Today, for example, it is also grown in several areas of California, including the famous Napa Valley and Sonoma County.


One Grape Variety and Many Regional Expressions

To fully appreciate the wide range of online Sangiovese wines and to choose the right bottle for every occasion on Callmewine, it is important to understand the different regional expressions. The same grape variety can give rise to very diverse versions. The first distinction depends first of all on the method of production, based on whether it is carried out only in steel or whether it includes a more or less long refinement in wooden barrels.

In the first case we have lighter, fresher, fruitier and more versatile expressions, while in the second case we have a more full-bodied and structured red wine, perhaps with a good ageing potential in the bottle.

In the Romagna region, the most characteristic red wines fall under the DOC denomination, with a possible mention of the historical sub-zones: Oriolo, Predappio, Modigliana, Longiano, Marzeno, Bertinoro, Brisighella and others. In the majority of cases, these are enological expressions of good taste intensity, characterised by fine but lively tannins and a nice freshness.

The colour is ruby red with violet shades and the most typical aromas are those of cherries, red flowers and light spices. The Sangiovese Riserva version, however, is more intense, evolved and structured and, by law, must be aged for at least 22 months. Wooden containers are often used during ageing, while on other occasions only steel and cement are used to preserve the primary aromas of the grapes.

In Tuscany, in addition to the famous Chianti, Brunello, Nobile, Morellino and Carmignano, this grape variety is the protagonist of a wide variety of wines. This includes both young, fruity expressions and bottles with great intensity and long ageing potential, as in the case of the internationally renowned Supertuscans.

In the Marche region, this red grape is present in the Piceno, Conero and Macerata areas, but to a lesser extent than the Montepulciano grape. The situation is different in Umbria, where the grape is a major player in local culture, especially in the areas of Torgiano and Montefalco. Here it contributes in producing wines that are characterised by high aromatic concentration, warmth, structure and intensity. It is also widespread in many other regions of Italy in combination with the many local grape varieties that populate the peninsula.


Typical Characteristics and Suggested Pairings

Although there are many very different expressions, the wines obtained from this ancient red grape variety have some common characteristics.

These include the strong fruity and aromatic intensity, which is always complemented by a harmonious and balanced freshness. Usually it is also possible to detect a discreet smoothness and a solid but not excessive tannic structure. Another peculiarity is the long ageing potential: the most prestigious bottles can develop positively in the cellar even for decades!

The most common pairing is with mixed grilled meats, including chops, bacon, sausages and ribs. In the various regions of Italy, combinations with local dishes tend to be favoured: mutton in Romagna, Florentine steak and Chianina beef in Tuscany, and lamb, wild boar and game in the mountains of Umbria. The more intense and structured expressions can also go very well with highly seasoned and tasty local cheeses.

If you enjoy good food and wine, you can find a wide selection of Sangiovese wines for sale online at the best prices on the Callmewine wine shop. Discover Sangiovese prices and buy your favourite bottles online on Callmewine.

Callmewine is an online wine shop specializing in the sale of wine, champagne and spirits.

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