Pronounce it: san-gee-oh-vai-zey

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.

Main characteristics

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+

Try it with

Pappardelle with sausage & fennel seed bolognese
Roasted pepper sauce for pasta or chicken

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