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Sangiovese red wine variety in Australia

This Tuscan variety was the first of the Italian reds to be planted widely in Australia.

Sangiovese grapes destined for the 2020 Vintage at Coriole in Mclaren ValeSangiovese grapes destined for the 2020 Vintage at Coriole

Sangiovese is the most commonly grown red wine variety in Italy.  It is best known as the variety behind Chianti, Tuscany's flagship wine.

In fact this variety is grown throughout Central and Southern Italy.

Vineyards in Tuscany landscape. By Mattana (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sangiovese is the only variety permitted in the famous wines from Brunello di Montalcino, which are regarded as among Italy's best. They're made a strain of Sangiovese Grosso called Brunello ("little dark one"), so named for the brown hue of its skin. Although these wines are grown and made in Tuscany they are big, deep-coloured, and powerful, with enough tannins and structure to warrant considerable cellaring.

Over recent years there has been increased plantings and interest in the variety in California.

Quote By Jancis Robinson from her book Wine GapesQuote By Jancis Robinson from her book Wine Gapes

Sangiovese in Australia

The Sangiovese variety has only been used in any quantity in Australia over recent years. The early champion of the variety was Mark Lloyd of Coriole who first planted the variety in the McLaren Vale region in the 1980s. It is now grown in most regions in Eastern Australia.

It is comparatively scarce in WA, perhaps because of the mix up a few years ago when some WA wineries, including Howard Park, planted what they thought were Sangiovese vines but they turned out to be Carnelian.  

Some commentators believe that many plantings of Sangiovese made during the 1990s were of inferior clones. This probably contributed a bit to the cooling of enthusiasm of by Australian growers, winemakers and consumers of the variety.  

There was also some confusion over the best style of wine to be made from Sangiovese in Australia.  Too many wines were made in the style of Australian Shiraz, rather than emphasis on the strengths of Sangiovese - its ability to make make medium bodied wines with good acid structure.

For whatever reason the quality of Sangiovese wines in Australia has increased steadily over the past few years.

Many winemakers in Australia have discovered that Sangiovese makes good rose style wines.

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  • The Grapes of Ross Barossa Valley
  • The Islander Estate Vineyards Kangaroo Island
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  • Uleybury Wines Adelaide Zone
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  • Warrenmang Vineyard Pyrenees
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  • Yarrh Wines Canberra
  • Zerella (la Gita) McLaren Vale
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Last Update 6 Jan 2021

6 wine styles to drink over summer

Our wine shop partner has a timely article on what styles of wine to look for over the coming summer.  Check it out for a few interesting tips.

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More Italian red wine varieties used in Australia

Aglianico | Aleatico | Barbera | Canaiolo Nero | Colorino | Corvina | Dolcetto | Friesa | Lagrein | Mammolo | Marzemino | Montepulciano | Nebbiolo | Negroamaro | Nero d'Avola | Nero Di Troia | Primitivo | Refosco | Rondinella | Sagrantino | Sangiovese | Teroldego | Zinfandel
One of the best books about Italian wine grape varieties is Ian d'Agata's Native Wine Grapes of Italy

Learn More about Grape varieties

Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz

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De Long's Wine Grape Varietal TableDe Long's Wine Grape Varietal Table

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De Long's Wine Grape Varietal Table

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An Offer from our online Wine Shop Partner

This dozen contains 2 bottles from each of six different producers in several regions. The varieties included are Alicante Bouschet, Carmenere, Lagrein, Montepulciano and Sangiovese, plus a red blend from Heathcote containing Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese, Lagrein, Schioppettino & a little Lambrusco Maestro.

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