The wine of Chianti is based on the Sangiovese grape. Sangiovese is variable, due to the large number of clones, but in general it is a grape that lacks deep color and can be subject to oxidation. It is a grape with relatively high acidity, low extract, moderate sugar levels and moderate to high tannin content.
There is also a fair amount of clonal variation with Sangiovese. One main type is known as Grosso, which is also called Prugnolo, Brunello, or Morellino. This is a widely planted clone, ripening earlier than other clones. It is used in Vino Nobile, Brunello, Morellino di Scansano, and by certain Chianti producers.
Another main type is Piccolo, or Sangioveto, which has tighter bunches, smaller grapes. Sangiovese di Romagna, also widely grown in central Italy, is actually a separate grape with its own clones. The yield is generally higher, but quality is not necessarily lower. The best area for this type of Sangiovese is around Ravenna.
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