Sangiovese is known as “the king of Tuscany” and dominates central Italy’s winemaking. With its name meaning ‘blood of Jove,’ Sangiovese is grown principally in central Italy and is the dominant variety in Tuscany. It has several clonal variations such as Brunello, Sangiovese, Morellino and Nielluccio. Sangiovese is used as the main grape for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, as well as in Brunello, Chianti and Chianti Classico. The Sangiovese grape was already a well-known variety as far back as the 16th century. Recent DNA research suggests that its ancestors were the ancient Tuscan Ciliegiolo and the almost extinct Calabrian Calabrese Montenuovo varieties. Making good Sangiovese wines requires the vines to be planted at the correct density to help control crop vigour, using clones and rootstocks selected specifically for the area, and training the plants properly. We monitor the fermentation temperatures carefully so as not to burn the grapes’ delicate bouquet. Sangiovese produces rich, fruity wines with a flavour profile that includes sour cherries and plums, violets, blueberries, strawberries, orange peel and thyme.
Canaiolo Nero is an ancient grape variety whose origins are uncertain. It is one of two complementary grapes which form the basis of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico. Canaiolo Nero has a lovely soft texture and an expressive fruitiness. We use it to lend individual character to our Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, and for its persistence on the palate.
Thick-skinned and complex, a little bit of Petit Verdot goes a long way. Petit Verdot is a late-ripening, classic black grape that is traditionally used in Bordeaux wines and whose origins historically precede those of Cabernet. A small amount the dark coloured and tannin-rich grape, with its powerful flavours, adds aromas of molasses, blackberries and nettles with undertones of oak and leather. A vigorous plant that is sensitive to vintage conditions, Petit Verdot is usually present in small percentages. We recently acquired a vineyard with Petit Verdot at Le Badelle and will in the future see if this variety can become a part of one of our blends.
Cabernet Sauvignon is celebrated around the world for its ability to produce flavourful wines wherever it is planted. It is also an ideal blending partner for Sangiovese, and has therefore found its natural home in Tuscany. We cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyards of La Selva, Le Badelle, La Banditella and I Poggetti. With age, its typical flavour of blackcurrant can develop bouquet nuances of cedar, violets, leather and cigar, and its tannic edge may also soften.
Merlot is a grape that is found in some of the world’s most popular red wines, including some of the most renowned Bordeaux blends. It has a smooth, minty, lush fruit flavour, suggestive of currants, black cherries, plums, violets, rose, caramel, cloves, bay leaves and green peppercorns. We grow Merlot grapes in the Cortona area which brings forward a full-bodied, sensual character of this variety, that we use in 2 of our premium wines, Desiderio Cortona DOC and 50&50 Toscana IGT, as well as in the young Cantaloro Toscana IGT.
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