Varietal of the Month: Sangiovese

Marcy Gordon on Feb 25, 2023

Sangiovese derives its name from the Latin —Sanguis Jovis— meaning “the blood of Jove”. A mainstay of Italy, it’s a medium-bodied dry red wine with a range of flavors that include red cherry, black plum, sun-dried tomato, cigar box, black tea, smoke, anise, and thyme; great acidity and a nice level of spiciness typify it. Medium to high tannin make it a versatile wine, suitable for pairing with all things tomato-based, especially pizza; but also great with hard cheeses and rich savory roasted meats, or even pork chops. Here are capsule reviews of Sangiovese wines you may find along the Wine Road.

ACORN 2019 Sangiovese, Russian River Valley
The ACORN 2019 Sangiovese from Alegría Vineyards in Russian River Valley is composed of 98% Sangiovese, 1% Canaiolo Nero and 1% Mammolo Toscano. I don’t know how those small amounts of amounts of Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo Toscano figure in the equation, but the result is nothing short of magical. The wine is rich and juicy with a delicate dusty rose on the nose. It’s full of bright tart cherry and cranberry with grounding notes of thyme, coffee and mocha. It’s savory and supple with soft fine-grained sandy tannins. Nice acidity with a long juicy, spicy finish with a hint of tomato leaf and caper. It literally makes my mouth happy to drink it. Pair with Pasta alla Norma or eggplant parmagiana.

ABV 14.1%

Colagrossi 2018 Sangiovese, Mendocino County
The 2018 Colagrossi Sangiovese from Mendocino County is a meaty delight that hits all the right notes in terms of fruit, acidity and tannin. On the nose, notes of clove, aniseed, vanilla and cherry cola. On the palate it opens with bright red fruit, and tart cherry then settles with savory earthy notes of tobacco and balsamic. Great acidity and balanced sandy tannins carry the fruit flavors to a soft pleasing finish. Pizza is a natural choice for this wine or pair with sausage calzone or a simple charcuterie.

ABV 14.6%

Peterson 2018 Sangiovese, Dry Creek Valley
The Peterson 2018 Sangiovese from Dry Creek Valley is shimmering earthy ode to the Tuscan varietal. On the nose, notes of sandalwood, amber, sweet tobacco and black cherry. On the palate it opens with tart cranberry and red currant followed by deep savory notes of thyme, sage and dried tomato. Marvelous balance of acidity and fine knit tannins is sure to activate the pleasure center of your brain. Spicy and lithe, pair with lasagna and the poetry of Dante.
ABV 14.6%

Trentadue 2021 Shoestring Sangiovese, Alexander Valley
The 2021 Trentadue Shoestring Sangiovese from Alexander Valley has the earmarks of classic Chianti, with medium body, sandy tannins and food-friendly acidity. On the nose, sandalwood and dusty rose petals with a hint of black pepper and marjoram. The palate is full and bright with flavors of maraschino cherry, dried strawberry and red currant and cassis. Still young this wine will develop nicely over the next several years, but it’s absolutely tasty and enjoyable right now. Pair with tomato tart or pasta Bolognese.

ABV 14.5%

Posted by Marcy Gordon

Marcy Gordon is a freelance wine and travel writer. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle, Sonoma Magazine, The California Travel Guide, and Forbes Travel Guide. In 2017 she was awarded a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. She is the co-host of the award winning Wine Road Podcast.

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