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Sangiovese (san-joh-VAYzeh) is one of the world’s illustrious and most enduring grapes. It achieves its greatness in the soils of Italy, where it has been known for centuries as the Blood of Jove (Jupiter).

If you are not familiar with this grape, you are not alone. One reason could be because of the confusing European practice of naming wines not for the grape from which it is made, but from the area where it is produced — in this case, the Chianti region of Tuscany.

When most people think of Chianti they have visions of the raffia-covered bottle that used to sit on almost every Italian restaurant table in the world. Made to be a bulk inexpensive wine, these light, thin, austere and astringent wines usually ranged somewhere between mediocre and dreadful.

For many years the grape was grown either haphazardly in random vineyards or for a large-scale production with cooperatives.

Today many Italian producers have placed emphasis on growing Sangiovese with care, making it at its best brilliantly concentrated with spiced plum, black cherry and an integrated spicy mellowness. Simply said — a beautiful wine.


  • 2007 Cecchi Bonizio Sangiovese, Italy (about $14 retail)
  • 2009 Bolla Chianti, Italy (about $12 retail)
  • 2009 Rocca Chianti Rubizzo Sangiovese, Italy (about $18 retail)
  • 2009 Bella Sera Chianti, Italy (about $10 retail)


  • 2008 Da Vinci Chianti Riserva, Italy (about $30 retail)
  • 2008 Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva, Italy (about $23 retail)
  • 2008 Santa Margherita Chianti, Italy (about $42 retail)
  • 2005 Castello D’Albola Chianti Classico, Italy (about $26 retail)