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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

Sangiovese - A Tuscan Favourite

Synonymous with the red wines of Tuscany and all the romanticism that goes with it, Sangiovese is the most planted red grape in Italy and is the most important grape variety used in the production of Tuscany's greatest red wines, providing the backbone to the popular wines of Chianti.


No other Italian red commands greater worldwide recognition than Sangiovese and in an increasingly competitive global wine market, Italy’s abundance of native grapes provides a welcome point of difference.

From the Latin for sanguis Jovis, or “the blood of Jove,” mercurial Sangiovese has awarded Italy its best wine moments and became a major component of the super Tuscan revolution that brought Italy to the forefront of global wine.

Outside of Tuscany, Sangiovese is widely planted in Lazio, Umbria, Marche and of course Corsica where the variety is known as Nielluccio.

Worldwide, it has travelled to California and Australia, where its high acidity is an asset in the hot climate.

This exciting Italian variety is becoming increasingly popular in its adopted home of Australia where the variety is known for being adaptable to many types of vineyard soils and has proved suitable for cultivation across many Australian wine regions.

Although Sangiovese has been planted in Australian vineyards for the past few decades, it has only recently become a serious contender to the classic powerhouse red varieties. With the quality ever improving and Australians focusing more and more on enjoying wine with food, Sangiovese has found a permanent place in our wine scene.

Here in the Hunter Valley, Sangiovese was first planted in 1995 at Tintilla Estate by the Lusby family. Plantings have now grown to include at least 15 other vineyards in the region – amongst them Adina Vineyard, Pokolbin Estate and Kevin Sobels Wines.

The variety produces elegant wines with powerful aromas and is notoriously high in tannin and acidity but lighter in fruit. The flavours characteristic of Sangiovese range from cherries and red plums to herbs, spices and tea like flavours. The wines tend to be medium bodied, dry and usually quite savoury. The use of oak has become increasingly popular and used to draw the richer flavours from the grapes. While Italian styles tend to have more acid and tannin, the Australian Sangiovese wines tend to be a little fruitier, with riper flavours and higher alcohol. However, there is a trend for the styles to converge. This wine is easy to understand and is enjoyable in its youth, but it’s also rewarding with moderate to long ageing.

Sangiovese is also a component in many of Tuscany's "Super Tuscans," where it is blended with various proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Syrah.

What sets a classic Tuscan Sangiovese apart from the rest is it's refined and wonderfully pronounced backbone of acidity, and it is this quality that makes Sangiovese an unrivalled choice for the dinner table.

Food Match: Like all Italian wines, Sangiovese demands food. With its dryness and high acidity, Sangiovese is extremely food-friendly and perfect with Italian dishes and tomato-based dishes like Ragu or Osso Buco.

The acidity in both Sangiovese and the tomato-based food neutralise one another to create a wonderful marriage of flavours.

It’s also well-matched to the flavours of chicken, grilled red meat, lamb, slow roasted pork, pastas, stews or well-aged cheeses. Lighter styles of Sangiovese have proven to be useful red wines to pair with fish, especially when grilled or roasted.




2017 Belebula Sangiovese

With a freakish competition record, Pokolbin Estate has a reputation for producing outstanding wines and has had significant success with their Mediterranean-style red wines. TASTING A plethora of dried cherry, strawberry and caramelised fig with a hint of savoury spices. A light Italian variety, typically savoury on the front palate, held together by soft tannins and a touch of spice. FOOD MATCH Just superb with wood fire pizza, pasta, risotto, osso bucco and Mediterranean salads. CELLARING Drink within 3–5 Years with potential of up to 15.

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ADINA VINEYARD 2018 Sangiovese

Vines have been grown on Adina Vineyard in Lovedale since the 1860’s, with the modern vineyard mostly planted in the 1980’s. TASTING This estate-grown Sangiovese shows delicate aromas of wild berry and savoury spice, these are accompanied by velvety oak tannins for a smooth finish. FOOD MATCH Ideally with modern Australian food, veal ravioli or any meat dish. CELLARING Drink now or until 2025.

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A blend worth a mention

Catherine di’M Sangiovese/Merlot

Tintilla have become renowned for their Sangiovese over the years, selling out quickly as soon as it hits the cellar door. Each vintage is different, and the fruit treated according to the conditions it was grown in, with some years becoming a blend rather than a straight variety. Either way, this wine is definitely worth a taste!

TASTING Medium ruby in colour with aromas of blackberries, cherries and redcurrant. The tannins are soft, dry and persistent. FOOD MATCH As a classic Italian style it goes well with any Mediterranean food.

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2018 Sangiovese

Oakvale has a philosophy of minimal intervention with modern winemaking practices, showcasing the true expression of the vineyard. What does this mean for you? Less preservatives, less inputs, vegan friendly wine. The fruit for this Sangiovese was sourced from Adelaide Hills then handcrafted in the Hunter Valley. TASTING This wine displays generous fruit flavours of plum and red cherry combined with dried fig, fresh lavender with a hint of savoury spice. This is a well-balanced wine with a generous palate, soft silky tannins and a pleasing flintiness.

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Regional Series Sangiovese Hilltops 2018

The wine is a bright ruby red in colour and with fantastic aromas of Maraschino cherries and deliciously ripe raspberries it is an absolute delight. TASTING The palate is medium bodied and incredibly well structured. The tannins are fine and long and the typical acidity that we see with this variety gives an incredible length to the palate. Sweet mid palate raspberry fruits provide a freshness and liveliness to this fantastic wine. FOOD MATCH Cured meats like Prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele balance of saltiness, sweetness, and fat – ideal for such a wine. A well balanced duck or venison ragu would also be a great match.

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