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Wine Spectator School

Class 4: Major Regional Varieties


Sangiovese and Nebbiolo are responsible for Italy's most famous red wines, Chianti and Barolo, respectively.



The most widely planted red in Italy, Sangiovese means "the blood of Jove." Like Jove himself, the variety can be rather difficult.

To ripen fully, Sangiovese needs to be blessed with hot weather, since it matures at a snail's pace.

Furthermore, the thin-skinned grape demands endless attention in the vineyard and in the winery to attain the concentration necessary to live up to its name.

More than one committed winemaker has sighed, "Sangiovese is a grape for masochists," while heading back to the vineyard wielding pruning shears.




Sangiovese is the main variety in the blend that makes Chianti, the wine named for Italy's best-known wine...

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