Sangiovese is Italy's most cultivated grape. Like a spy, it goes by many names: Prugnolo Gentile, Sangioveto, and Morellino, to name a few. These various clones can be generally, if somewhat inaccurately, split into two camps, Sangiovese Grosso and the Sangiovese Piccolo. The Sangiovese Grosso has thicker skins, lower yields, and smaller berries, and because of these characteristics makes a darker, more ageable wine; however, some wine experts argue that many clones of Sangiovese Piccolo do as well, so this split is too simplistic to be helpful. Due to its many clones, Sangiovese is a phenomenally amenable grape, and it grows everywhere in Italy but Sicilia, though its finest expression is in Toscana.
The name Sangiovese has traditionally been interpreted as "blood of Jove" (sangue de Giove), but no one really knows the origin of the name. Similarly, while we know the grape is indigenous to Italy, recent ampelographers have suggested it's the clone of the ancient Tuscan grape Ciliegiolo and a little-known southern Italian grape called Calabrese Montenuovo, which probably came from Campania. Whatever it's called and whatever its origins, Sangiovese is the basis for wines from Brunello di Montalcino to Chianti to many of the so-called Super Tuscans.
Grapes have strange, long, secret histories, and knowing something about these histories makes us appreciate their wines a little more. Today, I'm very pleased to bring you a new allocation of a new IWM favorite, Podere Le Boncie Rosso di Toscana 2011. It's hard to get more authentically Italian than this wine; it's Sangiovese blended with three other ancient Tuscan grapes, and it's organic, traditionally made, and very delicious. Coming from Giovanna Morganti's family farm in the heart of Chianti, this wine beats with the lifeblood of Toscana, and it makes food sing.
Along with this delicious umano Tuscan wine, I'm delighted to offer a range of very special bottles of Vega-Sicilia Único, a collector staple from Spain, and a singular Corton-Charlemagne from Henri Boillot. Great wine makes the world go 'round, and whether it's from Toscana, Ribera del Duero or Burgundy, it makes life a little bit better.
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