Sangiovese is the grape variety in the popular Chianti wine from Italy. It is also the main grape in many other Italian wines, but outside of Italy it is not very widely planted. It is a very food friendly wine thanks to its high acidity, medium high tannins and rustic, fruity profile. Its savoury notes of tomatoes in combination with cherry make Sangiovese a perfect wine for anything with tomatoes, especially red pasta and pizza, but also pork and many other dishes.
Published September 10th 2021
Sangiovese is a star grape in Italy. The grape gives medium bodied red wines with good acidity and a delicious flavour profile of both savoury and fruity aromas. This makes Sangiovese a very food-friendly wine that pairs well with different types of heavier meat dishes as well as pastas and cheeses. If you are having a dish with tomato sauce, Sangiovese is a safe wine pick. In this wine guide you will learn more about Sangiovese food pairings.
Sangiovese is a grape which gives a savoury and fruity red wine with a translucent color. The wine is usually lighter than many other reds. Wine made from Sangiovese has characteristic cherry and tomato aromas. It is often described as a rustic wine, with fruity elements. Sangiovese gives medium-bodied wines with high acidity and good tannins.
It is an important grape in Italy where it is mostly grown in Tuscany. Sangiovese is the only grape in Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino, and the main grape in Chianti, Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Most Sangiovese wine undergoes a light oak ageing, which gives aromas of cedar wood and hints of vanilla.
Note: The profile of Sangiovese wines can differ quite a lot. Some wines are very earthy and rustic while other are more fruity and round. Regardless of the style, it almost always has the flavours of cherry and tomato.
Sangiovese is an excellent food wine. Thanks to its savoury character, high acidity and medium-body, it pairs well with a wide range of dishes. The classic Sangiovese food pairing is tomato. Sangiovese and tomato are simply one of those great flavour combinations. The rustic profile of the wine pairs perfectly with anything with tomatoes. By pairing it with savoury dishes with tomato and herbs, the more fruity flavours in the wine will be brought out.
When paring Sangiovese with food you should think about the following characteristics of the wine:
• Rustic, savoury & fruity profile - makes it an excellent pairing for dishes with tomato and herbs (rosemary, oregano, basil, sage, garlic, parsley, thyme).
• High acidity - pairs well with fatty and/or acid foods.
• Medium body - possible to pair it with both rich and lighter dishes.
The best serving temperature for Sangiovese is 14-17°C (57-63°F).
Sangiovese with rich pasta dishes is an excellent pairing. A pasta with tomatoes will taste even better with a rustic Sangiovese. Chianti Classico, which is made of at least 80% Sangiovese, is a perfect pairing for pasta with tomato sauce. The high acidity in the wine will balance the acidity from the tomatoes as well as the fat from the olive oil and/or meat. A rich layer of parmesan on the pasta will make the pairing even better!
Sangiovese pairs well with the following pasta dishes:
Sangiovese is one of the most important grape varieties in Italy, so why not pair it with one of the most famous Italian dishes? In fact, pizza and Sangiovese are a match made in heaven. Just like with pasta, the savoury profile and high acidy of the wine balances the acid tomato sauce and fat from the cheese. A medium bodied red wine with fruity and earthy flavours are usually the best wines with pizza. Sangiovese will pair well with any pizza, but especially classic flavours like Margherita and Pepperoni.
Tips! Read more about the best pizza pairings in our Wine & Pizza guide.
Sangiovese pairs very well with many different types of meat because the high acidity in the wine will balance the fat in the meat. The savoury and herbaceous flavours of the wine will match the seasoning of many meat dishes. The delicate fruit flavours of cherry make Sangiovese the best wine with pork tenderloin and pork belly.
A medium bodied Sangiovese will pair well with the following meat dishes:
Tips! Meat dishes flavoured with herbs, mainly oregano, basil, and thyme are a lovely pairings to Sangiovese.
Sangiovese pairs very well with a mixed charcuterie platter. The herbaceous aromas of this red wine matches with savoury charcuteries.
Sangiovese charcuterie pairing include:
Tips! Sangiovese also pairs well with many cheeses. That makes it a great wine for a charcuterie- and board.
Sangiovese also pairs well with lighter meat such as chicken or turkey, especially with tomato sauce or herbs.
Try Sangiovese with heavier chicken dishes, such as:
A medium bodied red wine like Sangiovese also works with vegetarian dishes, especially heavier dishes. Grilled vegetables or grilled vegetarian meat will pair well with a bottle of Sangiovese. Marinated vegetables on the grill can get an almost meaty texture and flavour. A versatile medium-bodied red like Sangiovese is a good pairing.
The savoury and herbaceous profile of the wine makes it an excellent choice for many vegetarian dishes, including:
Sangiovese is a good choice for meaty appetizers or charcuterie. Make an Italian charcuterie board with some of the following:
Sangiovese wines, including Chianti Classico, pairs well with many different types of cheeses, which makes it an excellent red wine for a cheese platter. The best cheese pairing for Sangiovese is a hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana padano and Pecorino. The salty and savoury flavours of these cheeses match the fruity and herbaceous profile of Sangiovese. If you make a cheese platter, you can also include softer cheese like Burrata.
Tips! Read more about good cheese pairings in our Wine & Cheese Pairing Guide.
Like other dry red wines, Sangiovese is not the best choice for spicy food. If you want to drink your bottle of Sangiovese with Indian food or other spicy food, we suggest you choose a mildy spicy dish. If the dish is too strong, the wine will taste very dry.
Enjoy your Sangiovese wine with your food!