Back to the origins of Sangiovese

Sangiovese is the most widespread black grape variety in Tuscany and it is utilised in the blends of the region’s most prestigious wines, such as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Carmignano. It has become widely surmised that the grape’s name derives from the combination of the Latin words “sanguis” (blood) and “Jovis” (Jupiter), testifying to its strength and vitality. It is said that it came from Monte Giove in Romagna. Another hypothesis links the name to San Giovanni Valdarno. Its origins are also uncertain. In 1622, it is cited by Giovan Vettorio Soderini in his treatise “Coltivazione toscana delle viti e d’alcuni alberi” as “Sangiocheto” or “Sangioveto”. Also, a notary deed found in the Faenza State Archives explicitly mentions Sangiovese. The grape variety was probably already here during the Etruscan period. From the sub-Apennine area north of the Tiber and south of the Arno, the Etruscans brought it to Emilia and Romagna during their expansion. When we talk about Sangiovese, we refer to a large number of grape varieties found throughout Italy. In Tuscany, two large families can be distinguished: Sangiovese Grosso and Sangiovese Piccolo. Sangiovese is a grape variety that is adaptable to different types of soils, but seems to thrive in those with a high concentration of limestone. These soils produce grapes for elegant wines that have powerful aromas. In the Chianti Classico region, Sangiovese thrives on the highly schistous shale clay soil known as galestro. In the Montalcino area there is a high percentage of limestone-based alberese soils alternating with marl deposits, a habitat that develops a red wine that is one of the most loved all over the world for its structure, fullness of flavour, elegance and capacity for ageing. The smaller areas of the Chianti generic denomination are predominantly clayey, with alberese and galestro, and produce high quality wine.
Grapes require a long growing season, as they sprout early and ripen slowly. Harvests in Italy traditionally start after September 29th, with the modern harvest often occurring during the second half of October. Sangiovese is a true symbol of Tuscan wine, and more generally Italian wine, in the world. Eleven percent of the national wine-growing area is cultivated with this varietal. In recent years, Sangiovese has also successfully disseminated overseas, particularly California.