Sangiovese research breakthrough

best sangiovese tuscany montalcinoAt Bush on my way to NYC today.

But wanted to share a small breakthrough I made in my ongoing Sangiovese research last week.

It’s well known that Baron Bettino Ricasoli grubbed up his vineyards and replanted his Brolio estate (mostly) to Sangiovese in the second half of the nineteenth century.

His decision to embrace and champion Sangiovese as Tuscany’s primary grape variety became a blueprint for the generations of growers and winemakers who followed.

But I’ve been challenged to find ampelographers who describe Tuscan viticulture and the grapes planted there in the decades that followed his move.

Last week, searching and scrolling through Google books, I stumbled across a wonderful survey of Tuscan farming published in 1882 in Florence (Paggi), Tuscan Agriculture: on the state of farming and farmers by Carlo Massimiliano Mazzini.

“It would take too long to list all the grape varieties cultivated in Tuscany,” writes Mazzini. “Their extremely high number represents the principal defect of local viticulture because it prevents [winemakers] from standardizing the types of wine produced there.”

“But in recent years, notable progress has taken shape. In all of the new plantings, the following prized and dependable varieties have come to prevail: Sangioveto, Canaiolo, Mammolo, Trebbiano, and Malvasia. The first three are red, the other two white.”

I posted my notes, along with my original translation of Baron Ricasoli’s famous letter to Cesare Studiati, over at my client La Porta di Vertine’s blog last week.

I hope you find my small discovery as exciting as I did.

Like I said, I’m heading to NYC today for a week of meetings, eating, and drinking. See you on the other side…

4 thoughts on “Sangiovese research breakthrough

    • Gamay was widely planted there before Ricasoli’s decision to grub up his grapes. I have documentation of that.

      What’s interesting to me about Mazzini’s observation is that growers have begun to follow Ricasoli’s lead and Sangiovese was beginning to come into focus there before the turn of the century.

      Thanks for reading, Alfonso! :)

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