Sangiovese

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Sangiovese is probably the vine which best represents Italian viticulture in the world. It became the enological symbol of Tuscany, the origin land of mythical wines ranging from Brunello di Montalcino to Nobile di Montepulciano, from Morellino di Scansano up, of course, to Chianti and Chianti Classico. Eleven percent of the entire area planted with vines (53.865 hectares out of 637.634) belong to this wine, with a certain preference for Central Italy, especially Emilia Romagna and Umbria, and, surprisingly enough, with Puglia being the second region in which it was most present for decades. But where does the Sangiovese come from? Hard to say, because its many clones make it difficult to define a unique origin for it.

Between history and myth, popular narrative dates its name back to “Sanguis Jovis,” meaning the blood of Jupiter, a name that would derive from a Capuchin monk of the convent of Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna, on the slopes of Mount Jupiter, during a banquet in honor of Pope Leo XII, who asked for the name of the wine that the monks had offered him. On a literary note, there are some references to it in “La Coltivazione di Viti” by Gian Vettorio Soderini, from 1590, and he calls it “Sangiogheto.” From that moment on, there are many quotes, always related to Tuscan viticulture studies, but it is in 1875 that the Siena Ampelographic Commission defines Sangiovese as the most cultivated variety in Chianti, continuing to call it Sangioveto. In the same period, the same variety is called Sangiovese in Romagna. This differentiation has now been lost, while dozens of studies in the last thirty years were conducted on the many Sangiovese clones, in search of the right one for each territory.

In tasting and organoleptic terms, Sangiovese is a variety characterized by an important polyphenolic content, a good ability to produce alcohol and an olfactory profile from which the primary aromas of plum, cherry and blackberry emerge, to which can be added those deriving from the wood in which it has matured, like vanilla, coffee and cocoa. Obviously, the increasingly varied and refined wine making techniques mean that beyond the most recognizable features, aromatic richness and variety of flavours is particularly varied.

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