Making Sangiovese: Tips from the Pros

Sangiovese is primarily associated with wines from Italy, especially from the Tuscany region. However, there are also a number of vineyards in the New World growing Sangiovese. The 2012 California Grape Crush Report shows winemakers in the state crushed 9,400 tons of Sangiovese. Here are two pros who contributed to that number. Steven Kirby is the Director of Winemaking at BARRA of Mendocino and Girasole Vineyards in Redwood Valley, California. Steven has a degree in viticulture and enology from UC-Davis and a master’s of business administration from Sonoma State University. Sangiovese is generally more fruit-driven and less tannic than many of the other best-known Italian varietals such as the Nebbiolo-based wines of Piedmont. On its own, Sangiovese does not typically make a dark colored wine, but the wines are darker and more tannic than Pinot Nero. This is one of the reasons we will blend small quantities (5% to 10%) of other varietals with our Sangiovese to achieve a more balanced wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah are all possible varietals for blending. They contribute both color and darker