Perhaps Italy's best known grape variety, the Sangiovese is rooted in the history of the Peninsula, and in particular the area that now covers Umbria, Tuscany, the Marches and Romagna. From the 17th century onwards, many references can be found to a red grape vine with a similar name (Sangioveto or Sangiogheto) although we can now say with certainty that there are at least two grape varieties in this family: the Sangiovese Piccolo and the Sangiovese Grosso. Today, in Umbria, this is the wine that identifies most closely with one of the region's most important denominations: the Torgiano Rosso Riserva, which received controlled designation of origin status in 1970, followed by controlled and warranted status (DOCG) in 1990.
This vine is commonly found all over Umbria, and is the backbone of the majority of red wines produced in the provinces of Perugia and Terni. When vinified as a pure varietal, the Sangiovese can produce very different wines. If intended for fairly short-term use, vinified in steel only, it yields a wine with floral, mildly fruity aromas with excellent freshness and good acidity. When used to produce more structured wines, maturation in wood can yield a wine with a fruity, spicy aroma and good body, well-suited to long ageing.