There are many variant clones of Sangiovese (or ‘Saint Jove’), which account for the inconsistent style and quality of wine produced under the name. Well-known high quality clones of Sangiovese include Sangiovese Grosso, Brunello and Morellino. Sangiovese often appears to have an orange hue and typical savoury flavours including bitter chocolate, orange peel, leather and mineral.
Its heartland is Tuscany and in particular the wines of Chianti, but it is often blended with small proportions of Colorino, Mammolo and Canaiolo and increasingly with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Neighbouring regions Umbria and Emilia-Romagna produce similar reds from Sangiovese but they are often lighter weight and less complex.
Grown in the warmer climate of Southern Italy and Sicily it is full bodied (high in alcohol), with good ripe fruit and an orange zest finish, ideal as a partner to game and ripe cheeses. Italian immigrants have established Sangiovese vines where they have settled in California, Australia and, in particular, Argentina. These plantings give variable quality but can be very fruity with hints of raspberry, blackberry and leather, refreshing with very supple tannins and a fruity finish.
Recent plantings at Mayfield Winery in the cool Orange region of NSW have already succeeded with supple, easy drinking wine with soft tannins and plenty of fruit.