Video: Texas Sangiovese, the Warm Climate Pinot Noir
Sangiovese is universally acknowledged as one of the great grapes of Italy and is the principal grape used in producing Chianti in Tuscany. The grape normally produces light to medium bodied red wines with crisp acidity that makes them the near-perfect match for a wide range of foods from fish to fowl to grilled meats. The name Sangiovese comes from the phrase “Sanguis Jovis”, literally “Blood of Jove”, and it is sometimes translated as “the Blood of God”.
There are at least fourteen separate and distinct clones of Sangiovese. Most produce a lighter style wine with lots of red berry flavors and aromas with the exception of the clone of Sangiovese used to produce Brunello which results in a fuller body and darker quality than found in Chianti-style wines.
In Italy, Chianti requires a minimum of 80 percent of the wine to be composed of Sangiovese. In recent decades, this has led to a wide range of experimentation among wine makers, including the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, creating the exceptional wines known as “Super Tuscans” and a range of Mediterranean blends. In Texas as in California, Sangiovese is growing in popularity used to produce single-grape varietal wines, with a number of vineyards producing very well-received wines from the grape. Sangiovese produced in Texas has been “brown bagged” and blind tasted by restaurateurs and sommeliers versus Sangiovese from California and Italy and found to be most like the old world wines of Chianti Classico of Tuscany.
The Sangiovese grape loves the hot climate found in places like Tuscany, as well as warmer dry regions of California and Texas. It generally makes lighter bodied wines with lots of red berry qualities when compared with heartier grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon known for it dark berry and cassis characteristics. Consequently, Sangiovese is sometimes referred to as a “Warm Climate Pinot Noir” as Pinot Noir is also known for producing lighter body yet pleasing wines, but is typically grown in cooler climates. In contrast Sangiovese vines love the hot Tuscan or Texan sun. Descriptors for wines made from Sangiovese often hint at the rustic nature with nuances of red fruits (See table below for Sangiovese wine descriptors).
For additional information, check out the previous VintageTexas blog postings that highlight wines made from Sangiovese.
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