Derived from the Latin for ‘blood of Jove’, or ‘Jupiter’s blood’, Sangiovese is Italy’s most planted red grape variety. Perhaps most famously it is known as the Chianti grape par excellence but is also the primary variety in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the sole variety in Brunello di Montalcino.

Sangiovese is also found in Super Tuscans including Tignanello, Flaccianello, Le Pergole Torte, Cepparello and Fontalloro.

Outside of Tuscany, Sangiovese has a stronghold in Emilia-Romagna. The grapes grown here traditionally sold for some of the lowest prices in all Italy, however quality is steadily improving.

Sangiovese is widespread in Argentina thanks to the influx of Italian immigrants, and has developed a following in California. Australia is going from strength to strength with its Sangiovese plantings, with successful wines from Mclaren Vale, King Valley and Barossa in particular.

Quick Link: Tuscany Wine Region


A naturally vigourous variety, Sangiovese requires a skilled viticulturalist to get the best out of it. Poor soils and just enough sunshine are ideal conditions and, like Pinot Noir, it is capable of translating terroir into wine.

What does Sangiovese taste like?

Sangiovese is a high acidity variety which typically displays red fruit characters, sometimes with notes of black tea, chocolate or tobacco.

Oak in Sangiovese

A fussy grape to grow, it can produce lively, almost fizzing young reds with juicy, cherry flavours, as well as more concentrated, long-lived, oak-matured reds with superb, savoury herb and spice flavours and great finesse.

See also: Chianti Classico alternatives: Top Tuscany IGT wines | Ultimate Tuscany: Top 10 wineries to visit | Travel: Tuscany wine trail

Food Matching with Sangiovese: Wild garlic and ricotta ravioli with lamb soup