Ever dreamed of a romantic getaway traveling throughout Italy and visiting their finest wine regions? Italy’s breathtaking scenery and geographically different regions create a plethora of wines for our tasting pleasure. Next to France, Italy is the largest producer of wine filling Italy with many exquisite vineyards. As of late, Italy boasts 350 official wine varieties and over 1.5 million acres of land dedicated to growing grapes.
Learning about all of the wonderful wine Italy has to offer can be daunting, so today we are going to focus on one of the Tuscan greats: Sangiovese.
Tuscany Quick Facts
Total Vineyard Area: 143,987 acres
Total Wine Production: 67,106,800 gallons, 30% white, 70% red/rose’
Common Grape Varieties:
White: Trebbiano, Vermentino, Vernaccia
Red: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Sangiovese, The Major Tuscan
Regarded as one of the most important red grapes, sangiovese is used in every major traditional Italian wine. While indigenous, sangiovese is troublesome, as is does not ripen easily or uniformly. If it is not grown in a region that is consistently sunny, it is not uncommon to see bunches of grapes that are soft and purple, alongside of other bunches that are green and under-ripe. These uneven bunches can lead to thin and unbalanced wines.
Sangiovese tends to reinvent itself into different varieties, known as clones. Though no one knows exactly how many different clone varieties there are out there, the most important clones include sangioveto, (which is used in Chianti Classico) brunello, (used in Brunello di Montalcino) and prugnolo, (which is used in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano).
Top Super Tuscans
Many of the superstar Tuscan wines are made with sangiovese grapes. Most of these great wines came to fame in the 1970s and 1980s, and are collectively called the Super Tuscans by consumers. While you will never see “Super Tuscan” on an Italian wine bottle, you will see the following proprietary names:
|Fontalloro||Grosso Senese||ll Sodaccio|
|I Sodi di San Niccolò||Le Pergole Torte||Percarlo|
Great Tuscan Red Wines to Know
Antinori: Made with about 80% sangiovese and 20% cabernet sauvignon, Tignanello is one of the first very well-known Super Tuscan wines. Originally made in 1971, the wine at that time contained no cabernet. By the 1990s, a few changes in the winemaking method were made, resulting in some of the best Tignanellos ever made.
Azienda Agricola Fontodi: Made with 100% sangiovese, Fontodi’s Super Tuscan is named for an iconic cross in the nearby village of Pieve. Considered to be one of the most exotic of the sangioveses, it is rich, exceptionally complex, syrupy in texture, and have flavors of ginger, black licorice, and grapefruit.
Montevertine: Montevertine is a small estate that is well known for making a few of the Super Tuscan wines. Le Pergole Torte is made from 100% sangiovese, and is has some of the most dramatic flavors of all of the Montevertine wines. Packed with flavors of black cherry and fig, as well as notes of violet, vanilla, and orange peel, Le Pergole Torte is a true world-class sangiovese.
To learn more about Tuscan wines and sangiovese, be sure to drop by Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, Massachusetts. Although you may not be able to travel the world to taste wine, with over 3000 labels from 16 different countries, Julio’s Liquors is the next best thing! Talk to our experts or come to one of our free wine tastings or classes to learn about your favorite wines!