6 Best Sangiovese Wine Pairings
No authentic Italian entreé is quite complete without a refreshing glass of vino. To taste all that this ancient European state has to offer, look no further than this classic Italian wine, Sangiovese.
This medium-bodied red hails from the rolling hills of one of the famous Italian wine regions, Tuscany. Each sip brims with pleasing acidity and robust tannins. It’s one of the most food-friendly wines you’ll find.
Let’s explore our 6 favorite pairings for Sangiovese wine, from appetizing Italian entreés to salty, cured meats and hard cheeses.
How Does Sangiovese Wine Taste?
Sangiovese is derived from the Latin “sanguis Jovis” or “blood of Jupiter.” The growing season is extended as its buds often take many weeks to ripen.
Sangiovese is the primary grape in classic Italian varietals like Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the only grape in Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino.
The high-acidity varietal laid its roots in Tuscany hundreds of years ago, though it now thrives all throughout the globe, including popular New World regions like Argentina and California.
As a medium-bodied red wine, Sangiovese often displays vibrant flavors of red fruit, such as plums, strawberries, and Maraschino cherries. Secondary notes of blackberries, figs, and minerals impart an unmistakable earthiness and loaminess.
Oak aging imbues the wine with toasty undertones of vanilla and cedar, rounding out a rustic and satisfying sipping experience.
While Sangiovese’s moderate tannic structure makes a natural pairing to many meat-based dishes, its brimming acidity also works wonders with grilled vegetables or hard cheeses.
If your wine’s aromas are punchy and bitter, look towards dishes with a high fat and acid content. If your glass is extra fruity, whip up dishes bursting with herbaceous flavors like sage, garlic, and rosemary.
To make the most of each sip of Sangiovese, serve slightly below room temperature at 58-64° F or 14-17° C.
Now that we’ve covered Sangiovese’s complex flavor profile let’s dive into a bit more detail on this Italian varietal’s perfect partners.
Creamy Pasta Dishes
A refined Italian menu might contain anywhere from a handful to a dozen delicious pasta dishes. If you’re sipping on a glass of Sangiovese, seek out entreés with a rich, creamy sauce and acidic tomato flavor.
For instance, Chianti Classico, comprised primarily of Sangiovese, is tailor-made to accentuate the bittersweet, punchy flavors of fresh tomato sauce. The wine’s natural acids complement the fruity acidity of the tomatoes while cutting away the fat within a creamy sauce.
This includes dishes like pasta bolognese, gnocchi with meatballs, and any decadent lasagna dish.
It’s quite possible that a bite of Margherita pizza was your first exposure to the wonders of the tomato. Well, the more fruity flavor you find in a slice of pizza, the better it will pair with a Sangiovese-based wine.
Sangiovese's savory, rustic profile is a match made in heaven for pizza. The crispy crust, sweet tomato sauce, and rich, melted mozzarella all taste exceptionally well against each sip of this Italian red.
Don’t be afraid to order some toppings like pepperoni or salami. Sangiovese pairs beautifully with the rich fats of cured Italian meats.
Grilled Meat Dishes
Due to its high natural acidity and robust cherry flavors, Sangiovese is a wonderful match for many Italian meat dishes
Think tomato-based meat stews, braised lamb, and grilled sausages. The famous Florentine steak is also a classic pairing. This meat dish is seared at high heat for short periods of time, leaving it charred on the outside while rare and juicy on the inside.
If you’re willing to get a bit more adventurous, pork belly is an Italian delicacy with incredible, fatty flavor tailor-made for Sangiovese’s layered aromas.
Charcuterie and Cold Cuts
No trip to Italy is quite complete without a thorough exploration of the divine tastes of charcuterie. Sangiovese’s natural acidity is a perfect match for the delicious fats found in classic cold cuts and savory hard cheeses.
Deck out your charcuterie board with premier cuts of prosciutto, salami, and pancetta, along with garlic-stuffed olives and dried tomatoes.
In the cheese department, this Tuscan red varietal works best with hard cheeses. Stock up on Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, or try pairing with a softer Italian cheese like Burrata.
Herbaceous Chicken Dishes
Sangiovese also makes a natural pair with lighter meat dishes like turkey or chicken. Seek out dishes rich in spices and herbs like rosemary and sage for the best complimentary matches.
Roasted or grilled chicken drizzled with tomato sauce takes advantage of this red’s tannic qualities, while the acidity of Sangiovese prevents it from being overwhelmed by the rich flavors of chicken stew.
Sangiovese is a perfect pairing for grilled vegetables, especially eggplant and portobello mushrooms.
The Italian red wine is powerful enough to stand up to the robust flavors of roasted veggies, but also light enough so that it doesn’t overpower delicate flavors like basil or lemon zest.
Satisfy With Sangiovese From Wine Insiders
With its punchy aromas of red fruit and earthy undertones, Sangiovese pairs beautifully with pizza, pasta, and nearly every item you’ll find on a classic Italian menu.
While you’re sipping on your Sangiovese, remember that food pairing isn’t a rigorous science — it’s an art form. Your main goal is to explore what works for you!
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