Posts Tagged ‘Sangiovese’

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The third of our 10-part analysis on Australian wine trends considers the country’s embrace of Italian grapes and newfound success with the Moscato wine style.

Although the planting of Mediterranean varieties from Greece, Spain and Portugal is in vogue, it’s the potential of those from Italy that really seems to be exciting winemakers Down Under.

Historically, as André Bondar, at McLaren Vale’s Mitolo, records: “Australia used to plant French varieties regardless,” but today growers are realising that many Italian grapes are more suitable to certain climates in Australia.

For Corrina Wright, director at McLaren Vale grower and producer Oliver’s Taranga: “Italian varieties in general are gaining traction because they have high natural acidity and a lovely texture and they are well adapted to heat spikes.”

Notably she has planted five acres of Sagrantino. “We’ve had it for 12 years and it’s hard to grow and low cropping, but produces wines with fabulous tannins.” She would like to plant white grape Greco too, she says, but has run out of vineyard space.

For many, Sangiovese elicits excitement. Coriole’s Mark Lloyd points out that he was the first to grow Sangiovese in the country, having planted it in 1985 in the McLaren Vale because, he recalls: “It was going to be the antithesis of big, sweet Shiraz.”

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The Sangiovese Grape.

The Sangiovese Grape.

 

Brunello di Montalcino is in the news again after an attack on the Case Basse winery, in which vandals drained 62,000 liters of its wine. Kerin O’Keefe questions whether sangiovese is the right variety for all parts of this large denomination.

 

The Case Basse attack is not the first time in recent years that Brunello di Montalcino has hit the headlines. In 2008, “Brunellogate” revealed the existence of a three-year inquiry into claims that some producers were supplementing sangiovese – the only variety permitted – with other grapes.

Some reports have suggested that last weekend’s attack on the Case Basse winery could have been motivated by revenge over whistle-blowing by the owner, Gianfranco Soldera – allegations that he strongly denies.

But is sangiovese actually the best-suited grape for the large Brunello di Montalcino region? In this extract from her latest book, “Brunello di Montalcino,” Italian wine expert Kerin O’Keefe considers the question:

“Brunello’s entire production area centers on the expansive commune of Montalcino. This medieval hilltop town, whose name derives from the Italian translation of the Latin Mons Ilcinus (Mount Ilex), the ancient Latin name of the hill on which the town perches, and referring to the ilex or holm oak trees that still populate the surrounding woods, lies roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Siena and just over 40 kilometers (25 miles) as the crow flies from the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Montalcino occupies a central position within the Province of Siena, though it is far away from busy roads and immersed for the most part in unspoiled countryside. Whereas the ancient town center, dominated by its fourteenth-century fortress, is tiny, the entire municipal area, the largest township in the province, includes several hamlets and stretches across 24,362 hectares (60,200 acres), with 70 percent of the area defined as hilly, 29 percent flat, and 1 percent mountainous.
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