Sangiovese is a red Italian wine grape variety whose name derives from the Latin sanguis Jovis, “the blood of Jove”. In the wines of Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Sangiovese would experience a period of popularity in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the 1970s, Tuscan winemakers began a period of innovation by introducing modern oak treatments and blending the grape with non-Italian varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon in the creation of wines that were given the collective marketing sobriquet “Super Tuscans”.
It is the grape of most of Central Italy from Romagna down to Lazio, Campania and Sicily where it is considered the “workhorse” grape, producing everything from everyday drinking to premium wines in a variety of styles. Italian immigrants brought Sangiovese to California in the late 19th century, but it was never considered very important until the success of the Super Tuscans in the 1980s. At the turn of the 21st century, Italy was still the leading source for Sangiovese, followed by Argentina, Romania, France, California and Australia. Chilean & Mexican winemakers have been experimenting with plantings while a small amount of Sangiovese is grown in South Africa as well.