Sangiovese Food to Wine Matches

A natural fit with Tuscan trattoria fare, sangiovese can also do justice to a juicy steak or duck breast

Pardon me for stating the obvious, but sangiovese does go very well with pasta, also with roast wild boar (a Tuscan speciality), gnocchi, roast peppers and much else you’d expect to find on the menu of a decent trattoria from here to Tuscany.

The beauty of a good sangiovese is that it has a nice whack of acidity as well as good tannins and great fruit, and it’s this acidity that helps sustain it through the rich cream - or tomato-based sauces that dress pasta dishes. It can also cut through a healthy dose of olive oil and a nice rich salty bit of Parmesan or a fatty, delicious chink of proper salami. But to limit sangiovese strictly to the fare of its home country would be wrong. Meatier versions of the grape, especially those bulked out with cabernet and merlot (as is often the case in the New World versions), will do no end of favours to a juicy steak or a plump pink duck breast.


Cheat Sheet

By any other name

Sangiovese is also known as morellino, calabrese, nerino, sanvicetro and prugnolo.

Look for

Lovely ripe red berry fruits, balanced acidity (sangiovese can be on the high side), a slightly earthy, rural hint to its flavours.

By Jove

Sangiovese dates back as far as the 16th century and used to be known as Sanguis Jovis – blood of Jupiter.

Let’s experiment

Adding cabernet to a Tuscan blend of sangiovese is technically illegal, but wine-growers can get ‘experimental’ dispensation. Hence the proliferation of experimental vineyards across the region.

This article was published on 8th August 2011 so certain details may not be up to date.

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