Ambassador for Italy
If you are trying to guess the grape variety in a Tuscan red wine, then there's a good chance that it will be Sangiovese. It won't necessarily be called that, though, as every locality has its own synonym.
Sangiovese is the basis of Chianti, and as such is the grape that keeps the Italian Pasta houses afloat. Yet it is also the heart of Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy's high priced wines. Importantly it is part of the blend of many 'super-Tuscans' - wines that don't follow the Italian rules. Using modern techniques, and 'foreign' varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, these wines have hit the jackpot among collectors.
Colour: red, garnet-coloured, not too deep
Body: medium bodied
Tastes: juicy red cherries with a fine grain of acid
AKA: Brunello, Morellino, Prugnolo, Uvan Canina
Often blended with: local varieties to make Chianti, Brunello di Montalicino and others, or with cabernet sauvignon or merlot
Spotter's guide: Italy: mainly Tuscany; increasingly in Australia; a little in Argentina
Keep or drink? Price is the guide. The low-priced mass market wines are for enjoying tonight. The high-priced wines can be cellared for a number of years
Price range: £4.99 to £100+