Sangiovese may be Italy's best-known wine grape. Either straight or in a blend, this red grape from Tuscany is responsible for the personality of the famous Chianti and many other wines. Its history in Australian goes back to the 1970s, when it was planted in NSW at Montrose vineyard, Mudgee, by Italian winemaker Carlo Corino. It stuttered along until the upsurge in gastronomic interest in all things Italian about 20 years ago cemented its place in the minds of keen consumers. The best Australian examples get better all the time, capturing sangiovese's savoury allure in classic style.
Mr. Mick Novo Sangiovese Malbec 2016 $15-$17
From the Clare Valley, this blend is a lighter expression of sangiovese with little malbec impact. Cherry flesh and cherry pit characters with a herby overlay are very varietal, and the palate is simple and savoury with integrated dry tannins and mouth-watering acidity keeping it lively. (Screw cap; 12.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over two years.
Stockists include Purvis Cellars, Surrey Hills (Vic); David's Cellars, Annandale (NSW).
Freeman Altura Vineyard Sangiovese 2016 $28-$30
A deeply coloured wine from Hilltops in NSW, this sits at the full-bodied end of the Oz sangiovese spectrum. Mocha, black cherry, dark chocolate and candied orange peel aromas are deliciously inviting, and the palate has ample depth and richness, counterpointed by a moreish, savoury, dry finish. Screw cap; 14 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over eight years.
Stockists include Cloudwine, South Melbourne (Vic); Annandale Cellars, Annandale (NSW).
Pikes Premio Clare Valley Sangiovese 2016 $42-$45
Raspberry, cherry and spice aromas are an appetising introduction to this tasty drop. It's an understated style, but with excellent varietal purity and character. There's more elegance than most Clare Valley sangiovese, and a lick of fine tannin perfectly underpins the lingering, savoury finish. Screw cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over five years.
Stockists include Five Way Cellars, Paddington (NSW); Armadale Cellars, Armadale (Vic).