Sangiovese is a primary component of classic Chiantis. Varietally pure versions can be found in Brunello, where the variants Sangiovese grosso and Sangiovese piccolo produce concentrated wines. When yields are kept in check, Piccolo usually produces the best wines. A low yield is essential for the concentration, flavour and aroma of the wine.As the Sangiovese grape has a strong tendency to mutate, numerous clones have emerged over the course of its long viticultural history. Italian winemakers vinify these variations under different designations, giving the wine a regional character too. These include numerous DOCG wines. Some of the highest quality wines are Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Carmignano and Morellino di Scansano, among others.Tuscan winemakers like to experiment. One of the most successful outcomes is the marriage of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon – a blend that for many years was not officially sanctioned by the authorities. Today Chianti is allowed to contain up to 25[JS1] % Cabernet Sauvignon. Most of the big Chianti producers make Cabernet-Sangiovese blends with elegant names and high prices. Further blending partners are Merlot, Canaiolo and indigenous grapes such as Mammolo. To the annoyance of winemakers who would like to make ageable wines, Chianti’s rules still prescribe a proportion of white varieties.Characteristic for the Sangiovese variety is the slow and late ripening of the thick-skinned, blue-black grapes. The vine flourishes best on loose, calcareous soils on good sites. This is where it produces the biggest yields.With around 72,000 hectares planted, Sangiovese is Italy’s most popular variety. It is most widespread where the Etruscans once settled. Besides Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna is also a notable growing area. Smaller plantings can be found in Umbria.Very little Sangiovese is planted outside Italy. Winemakers in Corsica, Israel and Tunisia make small quantities of Sangiovese wines. There are larger vineyards in the New World where the variety was introduced by Italian immigrants, chiefly in Argentina and Australia. California also has considerable plantings and it is gaining in importance there.There is nothing more enjoyable than a glass of Chianti. Mondovino offers Chianti and other Sangiovese wines, and they are available in Coop stores too.
Cultivation of the Sangiovese grape variety