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Ruby Hill Winery
March 4, 2022 | Ruby Hill Winery

Sangiovese From Stem to Bottle

What does Sangiovese taste like? What makes it special? Is it rare? Here, we are diving into the history and legacy of this inimitable red to honor the Wine of the Month, our 2018 Sangiovese. Long before we grafted Sangiovese into our Estate Vineyard, this old-world workhorse of a wine has been enjoyed globally for its medium tannins, delightful acidity, and fullness of bright, luscious red fruit. 

A Fruit of Many Talents

On its own, Sangiovese is very bright with reliable acid, which lends itself well to blending. Sangiovese is especially malleable, varying widely depending on fermentation style, oak use, and many other details of winemaking. From simple table wine to astonishingly elegant luxury wines, Sangiovese can do it all. 

A Divine Heritage

The name “Sangiovese” comes from the Latin phrase “Sangius Jovis” which means “the blood of Jupiter.” This reference to Roman Mythology further solidifies the heritage of Sangiovese as Italian, through-and-through. As the most widely planted red wine grape in Italy, it is the main component of classic Italian Chiantis and newer “Super Tuscan” blends. 

A European Medley

The first written mention of Sangiovese is dated 1590, by Italian agronomist Giovan Vettorio Soderini. In this writing, he notes that careless winemaking could cause Sangiovese to turn to vinegar. Naturally high acidity explains this phenomenon. To balance the acidity and lightness of Sangiovese, some winemakers began to blend in classic French red varietals, especially Cabernet Sauvignon. Thus, the “Super Tuscan” was born. 

The Quintessential Cal-Ital

Sangiovese is a rare, precious find in California, with fewer than 1,500 acres planted. In the 1980s, a subtle but impactful Cal-Ital movement took hold of the wine scene, wherein California’s wine lovers began to reach beyond Bordeaux Classics like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir and explore the delicious world of Italian reds.

Food’s Best Friend

One of the most important elements of a food-friendly wine is its acidity. With the balanced elements of fruit, acid, and tannin, Sangiovese is a pairing superstar, especially with pizza and pasta, but also with meatloaf, roast chicken, and other medium fare. Our Sangiovese is rustic, robust, and gorgeous, perfect at pizza night and elegant dinners alike. 

Early to bud and slow to ripen, Sangiovese grapes are tender and delicate while still resistant to drought. On our Estate, we introduced a varietal Sangiovese in 2007, and a Sangiovese Rosé in 2019, the Grapeful Rosé (currently sold out). Traditionaly, varietal Sangioveses are enjoyed young, but ours can also be cellared and enjoyed in days to come.


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