Sangiovese....a Grape by Any Other Name

Italy is currently the biggest producer of wine in the world.  And while there is a multitude of grape varietals and styles attributed to Italy, it is perhaps best known for the Sangiovese grape varietal. Sangiovese comes from the Latin phrase "Sanguis Jove," or "The Blood of Jove," Jove being another name for Jupiter.  Sangiovese is so beloved in Italy it is considered a gift from the gods.  In Italy there are over 50 names synonymous with Sangiovese; almost every area having a its own unique name for this garnet gem.

One of the best known areas for Sangiovese is Tuscany: the sun-kissed, rolling hills of many a wine-lover's day dreams. Within this central Italian winemaking utopia lays one of my newest favorite appellations: Bolgheri.

Bolgheri is a region only recently recognized for its amazing red wines.  Bolgheri earned its mark on the map for the 1976  Decanterevent where a Bordeaux-style, 6-year-old Sassicaia (by Tenuta San Guido) beat out an assortment of top-notch Bordeaux wines.  Since that time, Bolgheri has focused on mixing "Bordeaux-style" grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, with Sangiovese. The resulting product: big wine with copious fruitiness that is great for pairing with food, or sipping on its own. The style has unofficially become known as “Super Tuscan.”  Unfortunately the Italian wine-powers-that-be do not recognize this as an official name, so these fermented gems will have to hold off on their official super hero status for the time being. But that doesn't stop them from being out of this world on the palate!

So while Italian wines can be confusing, with there seemingly being 100 different synonyms for every grape they use, a Bolgheri wine will never cause regret! Two of my favorites to check out are: Gaja Ca'Marcanda Promis 2013 and Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove 2011.

Saluti from under the Tuscan Sun!

Ari Zimmerman
Templar of Tonics