What’s in My Glass? Sangiovese

I recently took part in  a food-pairing themed tasting at Vino Noceto, a small winery in my new home of Amador County, California. The team here paried six of their winves with delicious bites from a local caterer and man did their Sangiovese sing.

In California, this Italian grape is labelled as itself in most cases, as opposed to its role as a superstar in Tuscan wines like Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino.

A big, purple berry, Sangio (as the cool kids call it) vinifies into a crimson with a lot to say.  Bold, daring, cherry-infused, acidic and tannic at the same time, it’s like jumping out of a helicopter with skis on and gliding gently into Chamonix.

Well, the good examples are at least.  Sangiovese has a rough reputation in some parts thanks to cheap examples in wicker baskets known officially as fiascoes (not kidding).

Luckily, classic producers like Felsina of Siena are around to help. The Felsina 2011 Chianti Classico epitomizes Sangiovese in its savory, earthy nose that gets followed by tart red fruit and firm–but not destructive–tannins.


The Sangiovese grown at Vino Noceto comes from clones used in Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino (read: Chianti’s fancy, fuller-bodied cousin).  Their flagship Sangiovese was paired with a crusted pork tenderloin that accented the wine’s herbal tones, and nuanced cherry fruit.

The 2011 Misto Sangiovese was more seductive, with loads of dark fruit flavors like black cherry and ripe black plum.

Just take my word for it–give Sangiovese and/or Chianti another try. Stay away from wicker fiascoes and you should be safe.

Sangiovese Uncorked: 


Everyone needs a steak and Sangio action shot.

Laura Loves: This cute wrap-up of Sangio–including pronunciation tips!

This article on the great wines of Amador County from Wine Spectator.

Fun Facts: There are seven sub-regions of Chianti (All with names that start with Chianti).

Sangiovese is known for having notes of tart cherry, tomato leaf, and basil–All that italian goodness!

Perfect Pairings: Gigantic grilled steaks like Bistecca alla Fiorentina where tannin melts away the greasy fat inherent in the best beef.

Peanut butter-filled pretzels! Sangiovese isn’t a sip-me-on-the-couch wine in most cases, but here the sweet, gooey peanut butter mellows out the wines tannins and brings out the fruity side of this juice.


  • November 18, 2014
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