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Sangiovese

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Sangiovese grapes in Caiarossa vineyards, Pisa province

The most widely planted red variety in Italy is also one of it best. It is the grape variety responsible for Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti and Vino Nobile wines, therefore in terms of wine-making it would be not an overstatement to say, that Sangiovese is Tuscany!
The name of the grape derives from the Latin sanguis Jovis or "the blood of Jove". Jove was the king of gods in Roman mythology more known as Jupiter. The first documented mention of variety was found in the writings of Giovanvettorio Soderini (also known as Ciriegiulo) dated 1590, where he identified it as "Sangiogheto". While there is no conclusive evidence that Sangiogheto is Sangiovese, most historians generally beleive that it was the first historical mention of the grape. Regardless, it would not be until the 18th century that Sangiovese would gain wide spread attention throughout Tuscany, being with Malvasia and Trebbiano the most widely planted grapes in the region.
At the end of 19th century Sangiovese began to experience a great period of pupularity later becoming the main component for Chianti blends, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and with its clone Brunello composing the varietal wine Brunello di Montalcino.
In the 1970s, Tuscan winemakers initiated a period of ambitious innovations by introducing modern oak treatments and blending the grape with tipical non-Italian varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon in the creation of wines that were given the collective marketing sobriquet Super Tuscans. That was the period where the great beginning for further evolution of Tuscan wine industry has been marked.
Nowadays wines made as a result of blending typical Tuscan grape Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or Merlot are amongst the most widely produced and appreciated on Tuscan coast. The Sangiovese always unmistakably traced by experienced wine drinkers in this sort of blends as though underlines the bright Tuscan character of the wine.
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 and/or friable shale-clay.
In relatively cool years, the late-ripening Sangiovese rarely manages to ripen fully, whereas its wines from warmer vintages are characterized by a lively acidity, delicate tannin structure, and also retain a charming elegance. Wines made from Sangiovese tend to exhibit the grape's naturally high acidity as well as moderate-to-high tannin content and light color. Blending can have a pronounced effect on enhancing or tempering the wine's qualities.
  Sangiovese grapes on the harvest day in Volpaiole vineyards, Livorno province

   
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