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SANGIOVESE

AN ITALIAN AFFAIR

SANGIOVESE

TOSCANO

SANGIOVESE
and famous wines of Tuscany:

1) CHIANTI REGION

Chianti and Sangiovese share a long common history.
The Name “Chianti” has been in common usage since the 13th century and probably comes from ‘Clante’, an Etruscan family name. Bettino Ricasoli (Prime Minister of Italy) developed the traditional Chianti recipe that included Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Trebbiano (white) and Malvasia (white).
In the past Chianti wine used to be made with the “Governo” method (like ‘ripasso’ in Valpolicella), now this technique is discontinued. Since end of 1990’s Chianti and Chianti Classico are two separate DOCG.

1A) CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG

It’s the historical central area of Chianti (Castellina, Greve, Radda, Panzano & Gaiole = "conca d’oro”) = BEST TERROIR and most ancient for Chianti. Chianti Classico needs 12% min alcohol & the yield is limited to 3 tons per acre. (lower yields, stricter regulations thank regular Chianti DOCG).
The varieties permitted are Sangiovese (80% min), 20% other varietals admitted (not white). From 1995 the production of Chianti Classico that are 100% Sangiovese is permitted.
Chianti Classico can be ROSSO (regular) or RISERVA.
Regular is releaseed after October 1st, following harvest (next year).
Riserva must age a minimum of 24 months (usually higher percentage of Sangiovese and better fruit = more robust / complex wine).

CHIANTI CLASSICO SOIL:

  • GALESTRO is the Italian name for the “loose marl (clay)-limestone” that characterizes many of the best vineyards of the Chianti Classico DOCG. This soil influences the complexity + structure of the wines, and it is particularly good in wet years (high drainage).
  • ALBARESE is a ground composed from “ rockier sedimentary compact limestone”. Less fertile, Albarese ground confers more elegance and aromatics to the Sangiovese.

CHIANTI CLASSICO TOWNSHIP:

  • RADDA in Chianti: Long aging, austere & potent wines, more flora on the nose.
  • GAIOLE in Chianti: Longevity, elegance and natural balance.
  • GREVE in Chianti: Lighter, pleasant and easy drinking.
  • PANZANO in Chianti: ELEGANCE, juiciness & finesse, especially on the nose.
  • CASTELLINA in Chianti: Softness and balance, intensity on nose.

1B) CHIANTI  DOCG

Chianti sub areas: Rufina, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Aretini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane, Montalbano, Montespertoli... each with their own terroir, regulations and style. The larger area... and the more COMPLICATED one. Chianti DOCG can be ROSSO (regular), RISERVA, SUPERIORE Name officially appears in local chronicles dated 1260. Generic ‘Chianti’ is blend of various subzones (could be a good wine...but normally quite “common” in character). Blend must be 70-100% Sangiovese, approved varietals, 10% max white grapes (Colli Senesi), 15% max Cab.

CHIANTI  DOCG  SUBZONE CHARACTERISTICS

  • RUFINA: higher hills + temp. fluctuations = Most elegant and complex, aging.
  • COLLI ARETINI: Crisper acidity but lower structure. No aging.
  • COLLI SENESI: Montalcino influnce. Still has white varietals admitted. More structured, more alcohol wine.
  • COLLI FIORENTINI: Versatile, pleasant, light.
  • COLLINE PISANE: Sandier soils = lighter, less complex, easy drinking, leaner wines. Younger, no aging.
  • MONTESPERTOLI: Simplest
  • MONTALBANO: Carmignano DOCG fallback (most “international”)

2) MONTALCINO village

From the hamlet of Montalcino in province of Siena, one of the most important and renowned dry red wines of Italy by price, quality, aging potential, complexity, structure, fame.
Varietal : SANGIOVESE GROSSO 100%. The name of wine Brunello di Montalcino comes from the name of the village Montalcino and from the local name of Sangiovese (locally called Brunello).

2A) BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG

Thicker Skinned/tighter cluster Sangiovese Grosso was first selected over 150 years ago by the Biondi-Santi and in 1888 the first Brunello was bottled. In 1970 only 161 acres of vines.
Today over 3,706 acres. Robust wine with age develops bouquet of spices, game and sweet tobacco.
Generally drier and moderate Mediterranean climate.
Mount Amiata (extinguished volcano) is a shield from storms = riper fruit / balanced juicy wine.
Higher altitude + temp contrasts (day & night) + ventilation = intensity of flavors/scents.
Production area: 6 towns only (Montalcino is center).
Variety: 100% Sangiovese Grosso (“Brunello” in Montalcino).
Minimum aging: 4 years / 2 in oak (5 years for the ‘Riserva’).
Bordeaux type Bottle only.

2B) ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC

Rosso di Montalcino DOC = “Fallback appellation”/younger wine
Variety: 100 %Sangiovese grosso.
Maximum yield of grapes: 9 tons per hectare -> higher than Brunello.
Ready to be sold: 1st September of the year following the harvest
Minimum alcohol content: 12% -> lower than Brunello.

3 )MONTEPULCIANO village

Montepulciano's history has always been closely linked to its famous vines and wines, as demonstrated by the centuries-old cellars in the town's old centre. Further confirmation of this historical link is provided by documents from 790 AD which register the donation of a vineyard to the church, and Repetti's mention of a document in 1350 (in his "Historical and Geographical dictionary of Tuscany) which drew up the terms for trade and exportation of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Sane Lucerio (1530), cellarman to Pope Paul III, defined Montepulciano's wines as "vino perfectissimo" while Francesco Redi is famous for writing "Montepulciano d'ogni vino e' Re" ("Montepulciano is of all wines the king") in his "Bacco in Toscana" (1685). In his "Candide" (1759, Voltaire mentioned "maccheroni, Lombardy partridge and Montepulciano wine". Recent research has shown that the official name of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano dates back to 1787, and was used in a "nota spese" (expense account) by Giovanni Filippo Neri (Governor of the Regio Ritiro di San Girolamo, a historical Montepulciano institution) for a trip to Siena.

3A) Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG (also RISERVA) and Rosso di Montepulciano DOC.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was the 1st DOCG of Italy, granted in 1980.
The grapes: Sangiovese (known as Prugnolo Gentile in Montepulciano) 70% minimum. Up to a maximum of 20% Canaiolo Nero may be included, and up to a maximum of 30% of other red grape varieties authorized in Tuscany.
Yields: 8 tons per hectar.
Aging requirements: 2 years starting by January 1st following the harvest. It's possible to age a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: 2 years in wood or 18 months in wood and the remainig 5 months in any vessel or 12 months in wood, 6 months in bottle and the remaining 6 months in any other vessel.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano RISERVA = 3 years of aging minimum, in which 6 months in bottle, plus wood aging as specified for regular Nobile.

3B) Rosso di Montepulciano DOC

Total surface of the Montepulciano area: 16,500 hectars.
Total surface of the vineyards in Montepulciano: 2,000 hectars.
Vineyards registered as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG: 1,300 hectars.
Number of bottlers: 90 - of which 75 Consorzio's members.
Grape production in 2014: 10,000 tons.
Number of bottles of DOCG on the market in 2014: 7,304,554 
Vineyards registered as Rosso di Montepulciano DOC: 550 hectars.
Grape production in 2014: 7,290 tons.
Number of bottles of DOC on the market in 2014: 3,170,762 

4) CARMIGNANO DOCG

1700’s, Duke Cosimo III made the area a nursery for grape varieties that he wanted to plant and experiment with, among which Cabernet Sauvignon imported from France. Area of Production: Province of Prato (the townships of Carmignano and Poggio a Caiano). Carmignano DOCG (Also ‘Riserva’)
Smallest DOCG of Italy in size covering 100 hectares of land for vines - and with only 20 producers.
Requirements: Sangiovese min 50%, Canaiolo Nero 0-10%, Cabernet Franc 0-20%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10-20%, 0the grapes 0-10%
Minimum aging: 1 year / 2 years RISERVA (1 year min. in barrels both)
Barco reale di Carmignano DOC = fallback appellation (younger wine/higher yields).
It’s basically a more “French” Chianti that graduated! (Montalbano subzone).

5) MORELLINO DI SCANSANO DOCG

The name "Morellino" comes from ‘dark’ color of the berry ("moro" or "morello") as well as the breed of the local horses. Morellino di Scansano is DOCG appellation since 2007 (DOC since 1978).
In Scansano we find a unique terroir => altitude 150mt (492ft), proximity of the sea, southern geographical position.
Volcanic soil= GREATER MATURITY -> rounder wine, less aging needed + higher minerality.
Min. 85% Sangiovese (Morellino biotype)/15% permitted varietals.
No aging requirements (producer oriented) -> many release early to maintain crispness.
Riserva tipology -> 2 years min. aging (1 year in oak).
Prima selezione (first selection) = 4-12 months in oak.

6) SUPERTUSCANS

Many producers were making great quality wines/high priced, with international varietals.
NO APPELLATION (DOC / DOCG) available-> labelled as
VINO DA TAVOLA => US press coined up term.
‘Sassicaia’ (1st international / “Bordeaux” wine made in Tuscany).
‘Tignanello’ (1972 , 1st real “Super Tuscan” as intended today = blend of international and/or Tuscan varietals).
1992 -> IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) was introduced to solve issue => TOSCANA IGT phenomenon.