All you need to know about wine: What is Sangiovese?

What is Sangiovese?

Our Sangiovese is medium bodied and super vibrant with a savoury finish but it is a variety that can be made in many styles.

The name originates from the Latin phrase ‘Sanguis Jovis’ – the blood of Jove – related to myths with the Roman god, Jupiter.

Wondering about the correct pronunciation for sangiovese? An Australian accent can get in the way, but to break it down: san – joh – vay – zeh.


Origins of Sangiovese

Sangiovese originates from Italy, where it is the most commonly grown red variety, and is famously from Tuscany.
You may have heard of Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Carmignano. These are all made with sangiovese.

You’ll also find sangiovese planted in small amounts across the ‘new world’, with the larger plantings in Argentina, USA and Australia.

tips for choosing wine at a restaurant

Australian Sangiovese

Sangiovese is one of the original ‘alternative’ varieties planted in Australia in the 1970s and continues to increase in popularity as Aussies discover more about the wine!

But it took a long time to take hold in the hearts of Australian winemakers. One of the strong advocates for the variety was Mark Lloyd from Coriole in McLaren Vale, who has now produced over 30 vintages of sangiovese.

The variety is growing in planting area in South Australia and Victoria mainly, and is being made in many styles including rosé.

If you’d like to read more about the detailed history of sangiovese in Australia, check out this article from Wine Australia.

Sangiovese winemaking

Sangiovese is a grape that has high acidity and firm tannins. It is also a grape variety that really takes on the terroir of the vineyard. It can therefore make wines of very different structure, aroma and palate depending on the location it was grown.

Most styles of sangiovese will involve time in seasoned (older) oak barrels. Our Small Victories Sangiovese spends about 7 months in seasoned French oak puncheons (500L). The 2021 vintage was also left on lees to build mid palate weight, to balance the natural tannin and acid profile of fruit.

Our approach to Winemaking
A seated gentleman is being poured a glass of sangiovese by the cellar door host.

The best food pairings for Sangiovese

With reasonably high acidity and tannin structure, sangiovese certainly makes for a good food partner…

As sangiovese originates from Italy, classic pairing suggestions are tomato based dishes, such as pasta with marinara sauce or a rare steak.

If you’re looking for a vegan alternative, pasta with a tomato and cashew cream sauce with roast pumpkin and basil will make a great match.

As you can also imagine, sangiovese is the ultimate pizza wine. We love this simple Margherita pizza recipe, but if it’s Friday night our Sangiovese will also be fantastic with your favourite ordered from the local pizza shop!

In the cooler months, sangiovese will be a great match for gamey slow cooked dishes. Something like this Venison Cobbler dish from The Hairy Biker.

In the warmer months, you can pop a bottle of sangiovese into the esky to chill for a little and then enjoy with bbq lunch and salads. This simple Niçoise salad from Stephanie Alexander would be a great match, too.

For a delicious afternoon snack, simply pair your sangiovese with some chunks of pecorino or parmesan. Or create a cheese plate with Barossa Valley Cheese Company’s  4 year old La Dame. This semi-hard goats milk cheese has complex characters with a bready, yeasty nose, flaky texture and a savoury, nutty finish. Emily from Barossa Valley Cheese Co chose the Small Victories Sangiovese to complement this big, flavoured cheese. Emily’s serving tip – try the La Dame on Barossa Bark with a little kimchi on top.


Small Victories Wine Co Sangiovese

Our Sangiovese is super vibrant, savoury and delicious. From a vineyard in Macclesfield in the Adelaide Hills, we crafted a wine with lovely vibrant fruit to begin, completed by a creamy savoury edge owing to time on lees in older French oak.

“Bright and pretty with notes of red cherry, redcurrant and a splash of cranberry. Hints of amaro herbs, spice, marzipan, candied citrus rind, pressed flowers and red licorice. Light in body with a sense of space and detail, lovely crunchy fruit and a pulsating line, it’s great value drinking.” Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion on the 2021 vintage. 


SHOP | Small Victories Sangiovese
A glass of Small Victories Sangiovese being served with wood oven pizza.