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Sangiovese wines: our definitive guide to this Tuscany DOCG

The more time you spend in Tuscany, the more you’ll hear the word Sangiovese. Well that is, if you love wine! The most popular grape in this region, one we call the King of the Tuscan vineyard, is at the base of numerous Sangiovese wines with the Tuscany DOCG seal of approval.

The Sangiovese grape has long been the dominant vine in central Italy. Given the vast variety of terroir in which it grows, Sangiovese wines may have a range of flavors: from cherry to forest fruits, from violet to thyme, from vanilla to liquorice, from truffle to pencil lead, it’s got firm tannins and high acidity.

Sangiovese can be used to make a pure 100% Sangiovese wine, or blended at different percentages, usually with European vines like Cabernet, Merlot, Colorino, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo etc. The extent to which it can be blended depends in part on the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) to which the winemaker must submit. So what are the different Tuscany DOCG that make up the best Sangiovese wines in Tuscany?

Sangiovese Wines DOCG

 

Brunello di Montalcino

Must contain 100% Sangiovese grape grown in the area near Montalcino, south east of the city of Siena.

Terroir: marl, limestone

Flavors: mature (jammy), blackberry, spices, earthy, tobacco

Minimum Aging Requirements: 4 years for the vintage, 5 years for the reserve

 

Montecucco

Must contain 90% Sangiovese grape from the Maremma area south west of Siena, grown on the other side of the Amiata mountains from the more famous Brunello di Montalcino.

Terroir: stony, mineral-rich soil

Flavors: cherry, strawberry, jam with notes of herbs

Minimum Aging Requirements: 1 year for the vintage, 2 years for the reserve

 

Morellino di Scansano

Must contain 85% Sangiovese grape grown near Scansano, a town in the province of Grosseto in the hilly part of Maremma that borders on the sea.

Terroir: sandstone, clay and shale

Flavors: pomegranate, spice

Minimum Aging Requirements: 8 months for the vintage, 2 years for the reserve

 

Chianti

Must contain 75% Sangiovese grape grown in the large part of Tuscany designated “Chianti” – see this article to better understand what and where is Chianti.

Terroir: chalky, calcium-dominant soil

Flavor: tangy cherry, floral notes of violets

Minimum Aging Requirements: 4 months for the vintage, 2 years for the reserve

 

Chianto Classico

Must contain at least 80% Sangiovese grapes grown in the Chianti Classico area of Tuscany (which is a part of the Chianti area). Dievole’s Sangiovese wines fall under the Chianti Classico denomination.

Terroir: alberese, galestro, limestone

Flavors: tart cherry, floral notes of violets, licorice, vanilla, earthy

Minimum Aging Requirements: 10 months for the vintage, 2 years for the reserve

 

Nobile di Montepulciano

Must contain 70% Sangiovese grape produced in the vineyards that surround the charming town of Montepulciano in Tuscany.

Terroir: clay-rich soil

Flavor: black cherry, soft spices

Minimum Aging Requirements: 2 years for the vintage, 3 years for the reserve

 

Carmignano

Must contain 50% Sangiovese grape from vineyards in the Carmignano area, which is north west of Florence in the province of Prato.

Terroir: limestone

Flavors: black currant, plum, meaty

Minimum Aging Requirements: 2 years for the vintage, 3 years for the reserve