Sangiovese is such an excellent and versatile grape varietal. In fact, it is Italy's most planted grape and accounts for over 192,000 acres of land dedicated to its growth. Chianti, arguably one of the most famous wine names in existence, is made with the Sangiovese grape and is synonymous with Tuscany. If you have traveled through Italy, there is an excellent chance you've tasted Sangiovese.
Sangiovese can be made into cheap, bulk style Chianti or costly styles of Brunello. The aging regimen, not just the grape varietal and terroir, matters here.
Chianti wines are classified based on the aging regimen because of the massive effect on the quality of wines. Besides the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica), DOC, and DOCG classifications, Chianti alone breaks it down into these categories:
Chianti - six months of aging.
Chianti Classico - eleven-month minimum of aging.
Superiore - one year of aging.
Riserva - two years of aging.
Gran Selezione - two and a half years of aging.
Outside of Chianti, in Montalcino, they use a clone of the Sangiovese grape varietal called Sangiovese Grosso or Brunello. Here they have their own set of aging requirements.
Rosso di Montalcino - aging of one year.
Brunello di Montalcino - two years in oak with another three years after.
Brunello di Montalcino "Riserva" - two years in oak and another four years after that.
This grape varietal is exceptional and happens to be my wife’s favorite. So, this now begs the question - What's Open Owen?
Le Ragnaie Toscana Rosso IGT "Troncone" 2019
Le Ragnaie is a famous name specifically in Brunello di Montalcino and is entirely organic in viticulture. Their Toscana Rosso surprised me in terms of quality for its price point. It is, of course, made of 100% Sangiovese.
This wine was a bone-dry style of Sangiovese with notes of ripe cherry, red fruit, and strawberry. It also exhibited many earthy notes like mushrooms, truffles, and leather. Troncone saw oak and was revealed by aromas of cedar and vanilla.
I would pair this wine with a lamb dish or cured meats—an easy sipper for any supper.
Have any questions or comments? Don't be afraid to reach out and let me know what you have open this month! Cheers, Owen Huzar