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Sangiovese: Varietal Focus

Literally spoken, creating Chianti in the United States is not possible. Chianti is a style of wine that can only be derived from specific grapes grown in a specific area (in Chianti in Tuscany, Italy) and vinified under a strict set of laws. However, the primary grape used to make Chianti, Sangiovese, is a delicate and expressive grape that is now grown and produced in California. We are now only beginning to learn its growth and maturation tendencies in the vineyard and cellar. At Viansa Winery in Sonoma, Calif., we continue to refine our vineyard practices and enological techniques vintage by vintage. As a grape, Sangiovese works well with our philosophy of combining the traditional Italian winemaking style with modern California methods. Harvesting Sangiovese from several different appellations including Carneros, Amador County, Napa Valley, Central Coast, and Santa Clara County has allowed us to see how fermentation and aging affect each vineyard lot. Sangiovese grapes from these vineyards differ in many aspects, including color extraction, sugar content, tannin structure, and the rate at which the wine softens when aging in