Home > Italian wines, Sangiovese, wine quiz > Weekly Wine Quiz #60: Grape Trivia – Sangiovese

Weekly Wine Quiz #60: Grape Trivia – Sangiovese

Sangiovese grapes close up from Wikipedia

Sangiovese grapes close up from Wikipedia

Welcome to the weekend! Yep, it is the time for the new wine knowledge test.

We are continuing our Grape Trivia series, and today we will talk about Sangiovese – one of the most famous Italian grapes. Sangiovese is typically associated with Chianti, but in reality, Sangiovese is one of the most planted grapes all over Italy. One of the interesting issues is that Sangiovese, similarly to Pinot Noir, is very clone-prone, so it is known in different places under different names, such as Sangiovese Grosso, Prugnolo Gentile or Calabrese, to take a few.

Sangiovese is black skinned grape with cherry-dominant, earthy and savory profile. Sangiovese is capable of a wide range of expressions, starting from simple food friendly wines from Chianti to the oak-loaded monsters requiring long ageing and long decanting, coming from different regions in Tuscany and beyond. Absolute majority of Sangiovese plantings are located in Italy, but the grape is also slowly becoming popular in the other regions such as United States or Argentina.

Now, to the quiz! I thought that Zinfandel was not a simple quiz to compose, but then I realized that it is even more difficult to create an interesting quiz all around Sangiovese. For what it worth, 5 questions are below.

Q1: Grape, blending partner mostly of the past, typically leading to Sangiovese wines becoming dull and unexciting.

Q2: What is Fiasco, and how is it related to the Chianti wines?

Q3: On some of the bottles of Chianti, you could see an image of the black rooster. What is the meaning of it?

Q4: Tuscany no doubts is the major source of Sangiovese wines. Can you name 4 sub-regions in Tuscany, producing great wines with Sangiovese as the main variety?

Q5: Name 3 leading regions in United States producing Sangiovese wines. For an extra bonus, add your favorite producer(s).

Have a great weekend, have fun and cheers!

  1. June 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Q1: Not sure which is blander: I remember reading that Trebbiano and Malvasia were blended to stretch it out, but each add acidity. Colorino was added, but really for color but little else.

    Q2: Fiasco is that straw wrap that once protected chianti bottles from breaking when shipped, which once rendered irrelevant by modernization, devolved into an icon of cheap Chianti (and generic Italian red) for American tourists.

    Q3: The Gallo Nero signifies that bottle’s producer paid to join the Chianti Classico Consortium, a union group protecting and promoting only member producers in the Classico subregion of Chianti (in somewhat mafia-like fashion). They’ll tell you rooster chianti is better, don’t believe them.

    Q4: Rufina, Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, and Chianti Classico. I love Rufina, old school stuff!

    Q5: Napa, Sonoma. San Luis Obispo lead the pack. Seghesio makes a ripe classic. Bonny Doon’s Cá del Solo has correct edge and acid under $20!

    • talkavino
      June 9, 2013 at 6:16 am

      Thanks for playing, excellent answers! From my personal experience, I can tell you that all of the rooster-crowned Chianti were good. I don’t have a frame of reference – I never compared rooster Chianti Classico with non-rooster one, but again, a number of rooster ones were good.

      • June 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm

        All the one’s I’ve had tasted quite good as well, I’ve just heard over and over that the rooster isn’t an assurance of quality per-se, just a wine’s membership in the consortium whose regulations aren’t very stringent on good methods just grape provenance.

  2. June 9, 2013 at 10:35 am

    1. When you refer to the blending partner of the past, I am not sure how far back you want us to reference. Cab Sauv became the predominant blending grape (limited to 15%) in the 20th century.

    2. Fiasco is a typical Italian style bottle with a round body and bottom covered with a straw like woven cover. In the early years of Chianti, all the Chianti bottles were covered with fiasco. Today this is not a common practice.

    3. The black rooster represents the Chianti region. Legend has it that there was s rivalry regarding the border between Siena and Florence. To resolve the rivalry, the two cities decided to have their knights rise when the rooster crowed and ride toward each other. When they met, that would determine the new border. The city of Florence raised a black rooster to use for this but they never fed him. He had to survive on his own and would crow really early hoping to be fed. The Florentine knights were up earlier than the Siena knights and were able to ride much further creating a much larger Florence Republic represented by this black rooster.

    4. Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano and Chianti Classico

    5. My favorite producer of Sangiovese is Raffaldini in the Yadkin Valley AVA of North Carolina. (Yes, NC has wineries – well over 100 now and growing every day!) California, Texas,

    • talkavino
      June 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Excellent work! I know that NC has quite a few wineries. I was stuck a few times in Charlotte airport, where they had a North Carolina wine store – every time I was stuck there, the store was either already closed or not opened yet. And the last time, when I actually had a legit connection time and had a happy anticipation of trying NC wines, I found out that the store was closed to give way to some useless airport mall… So I’m still waiting my opportunity to try some NC wines.

  3. June 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    1: I think it is Trebbiano, because it is generally very bland.

    2: Fiasco is classical straw-thing (cannot come up with a better English explanation) around the classically roundish bottle of Chianti. This is how most Chianti used to be bottled.

    3: The black rooster is the symbol of the Chianti region, which is depicted on bottles of members of the official consortium. I think its roots go back to when the Florentine took over the region…but not sure.

    4: Brunello di Montalcino, Vino nobile di Montepulciano, Colli Senesi, Chianti Classico

    5: Should be in California, I have seen some around here: Napa, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, but also saw some in Texas I believe. Cannot say I have a favorite US Sangiovese producer, not even sure I had any…:)

    • talkavino
      June 10, 2013 at 6:15 am

      Thanks for playing, very good answers!

  1. June 12, 2013 at 9:34 am
  2. August 31, 2013 at 8:37 am
  3. November 30, 2013 at 9:03 am
  4. June 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

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