‘Top 10’ lists are typically controversial, and especially more so for varietals that are still in the process of becoming established in the wine market. You won’t find Australian sangiovese on Langton’s most recent 2010 Classification of Australian Wine, for example, because it simply doesn’t have a well-established track record of demand at auction. But the wines listed below would certainly meet Langton’s other exacting criteria for consideration: a reputation for authenticity, consistency and provenance.
Most of the sangioveses on this list are made by boutique wineries whose winemakers are passionate about Italian varietals. Several of the winemakers are of Italian heritage or have spent a lot of time in Italy learning about a wine which is responsible for Chianti – Italy’s most famous red wine.
These wines are also made by winemakers who have not been afraid to experiment, and have had enough patience to stick with a variety that has proven a lot harder to grow in Australia than originally anticipated. For Alberto Antonini of the Greenstone Vineyard in Heathcote, for example, only two of his original six sangiovese clones proved capable of producing tremendous quality fruit.
Given that sangiovese was only first planted in Australia in the 1970s, and interest from winemakers and the public alike didn’t really start to take hold until the early 2000s, the fact that three of the wines on the list are special flagship bottlings with expensive price tags to match is testament to the winemakers’ confidence that their wines can compete with the best in the world.
Castagna La Chiave Sangiovese, Beechworth, Victoria rrp: $75
Chrismont La Zona Sangiovese, King Valley, Victoria rrp: $26
Coriale Sangiovese, McLaren Vale, South Australia rrp: $25
Coriale Vita Reserve Sangiovese, McLaren Vale, South Australia rrp: $50