Australian Sangiovese wine regional and flavour profile
RED | MEDIUM BODIED | FULL BODIED
Sangiovese tastes and aromas
Flavours of tart cherry, plum and strawberry, along with hints of vanilla and cinnamon
Medium – Full bodied, medium acidity
Sangiovese cellaring potential
Sangiovese based wines age well, but the lighter styles of Sangiovese are best drunk within three years of their vintage
Facts about Sangiovese
- Sangiovese is a temperamental grape that requires a long growing season due to the length of time it takes to ripen
- The translation of Sangiovese’s name “sanguis Jovis” means “the blood of Jove”, led to theories that the grape’s origins dated from Roman times.
- Despite being a delicious drop, the variety tends to do poorly at national wine shows, which tend to support riper styles.
- The first documented mention of Sangiovese was in the 1590 writings of Giovanvettorio Soderini (also known under the pen name of Ciriegiulo). Identifying the grape as “Sangiogheto” Soderini notes that in Tuscany the grape makes very good wine, but if the winemaker is not careful, it risks turning into vinegar. While there is no conclusive proof that Sangiogheto is Sangiovese, most wine historians generally consider this to be the first historical mention of the grape.
- Sangiovese has shown itself to be adaptable to many different types of vineyard soils but seems to thrive in soils with a high concentration of limestone, having the potential to produce elegant wines with forceful aromas.
- The high acidity and light body characteristics of the Sangiovese grape can present a problem for winemaking. The grape also lacks some of the color-creating phenolic compounds known as acylated anthocyanins. Modern winemakers have devised many techniques trying to find ways to add body and texture to Sangiovese — ranging from using grapes that come from extremely low yielding vines, to adjusting the temperature and length of fermentation and employing extensive oak treatment.
Australian regions that produce Sangiovese
Sangiovese has proved to work well in McLaren Vale – it ripens mid to late season with good natural acidity, balance of tannin, and is quite aromatic. Other regions that have also shown great promise include the Karridale and Margaret River areas of Western Australia; Langhorne Creek, Strathalbyn and Port Lincoln in South Australia; Canberra and Young in New South Wales; and the western edge of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria.
While Sangiovese plantings are found worldwide, the grape’s homeland is central Italy. It also has significant plantings in Argentina, Romania, France, and California.
What food to pair with Sangiovese
Sangiovese’s high acidity and moderate alcohol makes it a very food-friendly wine when it comes to food and wine pairings. Straight Sangiovese, or even Sangiovese blended with a full-bodied Cabernet blended in, can accentuate the flavours of relatively bland dishes like meatloaf and roast chicken, as any herb seasoning such as basil, thyme and sage play off the herbal notes of the grapes.