Grape Varieties S-T Sangiovese

Sangiovese Wine

Sangiovese (or Nielluccio in Corsica), a dark-berried vine, is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy. Virtually synonymous with the red wines of Tuscany, and all the romanticism that goes with the territory, Sangiovese is the core constituent in some of the great names in Italian wine. Italy's love affair with Sangiovese – and indeed the world's – is generations old, though recent grapevine research suggests the variety is not as ancient as once thought.

At the dawn of the 21st Century, Sangiovese equated to roughly one in every 10 vines on the Italian peninsula. The quality of Sangiovese wine can be notoriously variable. But, in the 1980s, drastically improved winemaking techniques saw a significant shift toward more quality-oriented releases. Sangiovese has numerous clones and is consequently known by many synonyms in its native Italy.

Sangiovese Grapes

Good-quality Sangiovese is prized for its high acid, firm tannins and balanced nature. Savory flavors of dark cherries and black stonefruit are characteristic, and may be backed by secondary notes of tomato leaf and dried herbs. The use of oak has become more popular and this coaxes richer flavors from the grapes, tending toward plum and wild raspberry.

In Tuscany, Sangiovese is the sole grape variety permitted in the prestigious Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and provides the backbone to Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the popular wines of Chianti. One of Sangiovese's more modern incarnations is in the so-called "Super Tuscans", which are made under the Toscana IGT category. These wines allow winemakers more freedom to blend indigenous Italian grapes (principally Sangiovese) with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot (see Cabernet – Merlot  – Sangiovese for more information).

Outside Tuscany, Sangiovese is widely planted in Lazio, Umbria, Marche and of course Corsica. In Corsica, the variety is known as Nielluccio and has a distinctive maquis characteristic, which distinguishes it somewhat from other Sangiovese. (Maquis is the shrubland that covers the island and includes shrubs such as sage, juniper, heath trees, oak and myrtle.) Worldwide, it has traveled to California and Australia, where its high acidity is an asset in the hot climate.

All clones of Sangiovese are relatively slow ripening, which results in an extended growing season and richer, stronger and longer-lived wines than those made from early-ripening varieties. When the vines are encouraged to produce higher yields, the wine's naturally high acidity is accentuated and its characteristic color noticeably diluted. Further difficulties are experienced because of the grape's thin skin, which makes it susceptible to rot in damp conditions.

Synonyms include: Nielluccio, Sangioveto, Sangiovese Grosso, Sangiovese Piccolo, Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino.

Food matches for Sangiovese (Nielluccio) include:

  • Pappardelle pasta with a rabbit and porcini mushroom ragù
  • Fried chicken livers
  • Slow-roasted pork with white bean mash
Production by region Expand/collapse

Most Popular Sangiovese Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Region
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT, Tuscany, Italy Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT 73rd 95 $151
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 77th 92 $61
Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 89th 95 $113
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 101st 94 $240
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 109th 93 $190
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 160th 94 $593
Il Marroneto Madonna delle Grazie, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 200th 95 $293
Case Basse di Gianfranco Soldera Toscana IGT - Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 206th 93 $646
Bibi Graetz Testamatta Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 213th 93 $102
Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 221st 90 $67
San Giusto a Rentennano 'Percarlo' Sangiovese Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 270th 94 $121
Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Pianrosso, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 293rd 94 $78
Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 296th 93 $191
Sassetti Livio Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 300th 92 $68
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino DOCG,Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 309th 91 $60
Casanova di Neri Cerretalto, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 312th 95 $325
Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 334th 92 $75
Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 340th 93 $124
Marchesi Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 364th 91 $63
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 368th 94 $88
Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 375th 92 $67
Salvioni Cerbaiola Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 410th 94 $163
Cerbaiona di Diego Molinari Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 411th 92 $177
Fontodi Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Chianti Classico 423rd 91 $36
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Brunello di Montalcino 458th 93 $84
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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