Sangiovese vs. Pinot Noir: Which Brand is Best?

Are you trying to decide between a robust Sangiovese or a delicate Pinot Noir for your next special occasion? Sangiovese and Pinot Noir, two renowned wine varietals, hail from the rich and diverse terroirs of Italy and France, respectively. Sangiovese, the kingpin of Italian vines, and Pinot Noir, the heart of French red wines, each offer unique taste profiles and characteristics that captivate wine connoisseurs globally.

In this post, we’ll discuss the differences between Sangiovese and Pinot Noir – from their origins and production methods to flavor profiles and food pairings. No matter if you’re searching for an elegant wine to savor at the dinner table or simply looking for something new to try, reading on will ensure that you make an informed decision when selecting your favorite bottle of Italian vino!

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Sangiovese and Pinot Noir Taste Profile

Sangiovese Taste

Sangiovese is known for its bold and robust flavors. The wine is high in acidity and is characterized by notes of ripe cherries, fresh tomatoes, red plums, strawberries, and figs. These fruit-forward characteristics are often accompanied by earthy undertones of herbs, leather, and terra cotta.

In terms of aroma, Sangiovese often has a scent that is reminiscent of fresh and dried herbs, coupled with floral notes of violets and roses. Subtle hints of tobacco can also be discerned.

The texture of Sangiovese is quite remarkable. It’s a medium to full-bodied wine with a good structure that offers a balance between acidity and tannins. The tannins are typically medium to high, providing a firm, yet velvety mouthfeel. The wine’s high acidity makes it particularly food-friendly, pairing well with a wide range of dishes.

Pinot Noir Taste

Pinot Noir is celebrated for its delicate, yet complex, flavors. Unlike the bold Sangiovese, Pinot Noir is light to medium-bodied, presenting a beautiful array of red fruit flavors such as raspberries, strawberries, cherries, and red currants. There could also be an impression of plum and tomato, adding a little depth to its profile. The wine’s unique flavor is further enhanced by notes of mushroom, clove, and hibiscus, providing an earthy and floral undertone.

On the nose, Pinot Noir is nothing short of enchanting. The wine carries a fragrant aroma of red fruits mirrored in its taste, complemented by subtle whiffs of damp earth, tea leaves, and rose petals, making it exceptionally aromatic and inviting.

As for texture and structure, Pinot Noir is distinctly different from Sangiovese. The wine is known for its silky and smooth mouthfeel, attributed to its low to medium tannins. It has moderate acidity, which contributes to its overall balance and elegance. The wine’s light body makes it versatile for food pairing, complementing a variety of dishes without overpowering them. Pinot Noir is a wine that invites exploration and offers a luxurious experience with each sip.

Comparing the taste of Sangiovese and Pinot Noir

When comparing Sangiovese and Pinot Noir, certain similarities surface. Both wines share a core of red fruit flavors, featuring cherries, strawberries, and plums. Additionally, they both present a balance of fruity and earthy notes, rendering them complex and multi-dimensional in taste. Both Sangiovese and Pinot Noir are also greatly influenced by their terroir, with the flavors and aromas directly reflecting the soils and climates in which they are grown.

However, the differences between these two wines are more pronounced. Sangiovese, with its bold, robust character, and high acidity, contrasts with the delicate and smooth Pinot Noir. The tannin level in Sangiovese is significantly higher than that of Pinot Noir, which contributes to their contrasting textures – Sangiovese being firm and velvety, while Pinot Noir is silky and smooth. The flavor profiles also diverge, with Sangiovese often exuding strong notes of tomato and leather, whereas Pinot Noir tends towards subtle impressions of mushroom, clove, and hibiscus. In terms of food pairing, Sangiovese’s high acidity makes it more compatible with fatty and acidic dishes, while Pinot Noir’s light body and balance make it more adaptable to a range of food styles.

Recommendations for Best Pinot Noir Brands

Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or a curious beginner, navigating the multifaceted world of Pinot Noir can be an exciting journey of discovery and delight.

Reputable Pinot Noir Brands

Explore our curated list of top-notch Pinot Noir brands, each of which brings something unique and exquisite to your wine-tasting journey. Here are some of our top picks we think you must try if you are a Pinot Noir lover or looking to delve into the world of this delicate and elegant varietal:

  1. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – Known for producing some of the world’s finest and most expensive Pinot Noirs.
  2. Louis Jadot – This French winemaker offers a wide range of Pinot Noirs, many of which are highly acclaimed.
  3. Williams Selyem – Based in California’s Sonoma County, this winery is lauded for its exceptional Pinot Noirs.
  4. Felton Road – This New Zealand winery is known for its organic and biodynamic Pinot Noir wines.
  5. Penner-Ash Wine Cellars – An Oregon-based winery that crafts elegant and balanced Pinot Noirs.

We tasting notes for top Pinot Noir options

To help you make a more informed decision about which Pinot Noir to try, here are some tasting notes for our recommended brands:

  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: Expect a complex and elegant wine with notes of red berries, earth, and spice, along with an impressive aging potential.
  • Louis Jadot: These wines typically offer a balance of ripe red fruit and earthy flavors, underscored by a notable acidity and fine tannins.
  • Williams Selyem: These wines tend to be rich and concentrated, with vibrant fruit flavors, smooth textures, and a long finish.
  • Felton Road: Expect wines that are expressive of their terroir, with mineral notes accompanying the fruit flavors and a smooth, silky texture.
  • Penner-Ash Wine Cellars: These Pinot Noirs are well-balanced and nuanced, offering a mix of fruit, earth, and spice notes, with a satisfying complexity.



What’s difference between Sangiovese vs. Chianti?

While both Sangiovese and Chianti hail from Italy, they offer unique wine experiences. Sangiovese, a grape varietal, brings forth a robust, full-bodied wine filled with bold fruit flavors and high acidity. Chianti, on the other hand, is a wine region in Tuscany that uses Sangiovese as its primary grape. Wines from Chianti tend to be less tannic, with a softer profile that shines a spotlight on subtlety and finesse. Both wines pair beautifully with hearty Italian dishes, making them a staple at dinner tables across the globe.

To delve deeper into the nuanced world of these Italian wines and discover the intricacies of their taste profiles, terroir influences, and food pairing recommendations, explore the full Sangiovese vs. Chianti article.

Is Sangiovese similar to Pinot Noir?

While Sangiovese and Pinot Noir share some similarities in terms of red fruit flavors and being influenced by terroir, they are quite different wines. Sangiovese is bold and robust with high acidity, while Pinot Noir is delicate and smooth. They also have distinct flavor profiles, with Sangiovese often exhibiting notes of tomato and leather, while Pinot Noir has subtle hints of mushroom, clove, and hibiscus.

What wine is closest to Sangiovese?

Sangiovese is a unique grape varietal, so there isn’t one wine that can be considered the closest to it. However, some wines that may have similar characteristics include Cabernet Sauvignon for its boldness and high tannin levels, Merlot for its medium body and red fruit flavors, and Barbera for its acidity and versatility in food pairings.

What Italian wine is most like Pinot Noir?

While Pinot Noir is a distinct wine, some Italian wines that share similar characteristics include Barbera for its light body and fruity flavors, Nebbiolo for its high tannins and red fruit notes, and Dolcetto for its low tannins and bright acidity. Each of these wines also exhibits unique qualities that set them apart from Pinot Noir.

What makes the Sangiovese grape so special?

The Sangiovese grape is special for several reasons. Firstly, it is the most widely planted red grape in Italy and has been grown there for centuries, making it an integral part of Italian winemaking culture. Secondly, it is a versatile grape that can be crafted into various styles of wine, from light and fruity to bold and tannic. Lastly, the Sangiovese grape has a loyal following among wine lovers who appreciate its complexity and range of flavors.

Is Sangiovese sweet or dry?

Sangiovese wines can vary in sweetness, as it largely depends on the winemaker’s style and technique. Most Sangiovese wines tend to be dry, with minimal residual sugar. However, some producers may make slightly sweeter versions, known as “rosso dolce,” which have a touch of sweetness to balance out the high acidity and tannins.

Is Sangiovese light or heavy?

Sangiovese can range from light to full-bodied, depending on the region and winemaking style. Generally, Sangiovese wines from Tuscany tend to be medium-bodied, while those from other regions may be fuller or lighter in the body. Additionally, Sangiovese wines are known for their high acidity levels and moderate tannins, which contribute to a bright and refreshing drinking experience.

Do you drink Sangiovese chilled?

Sangiovese wines are typically served at a slightly cooler temperature than room temperature, ranging from 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows the wine’s flavors and aromas to shine while keeping it refreshing and easy to drink. However, some Sangiovese-based wines, such as Chianti Classico, may benefit from being chilled for about 30 minutes before serving.

Is Sangiovese like Merlot?

Sangiovese and Merlot are both red grape varietals, but they differ in many ways. Sangiovese is typically lighter-bodied with higher acidity and tannins than Merlot, which tends to be medium-to-full-bodied with softer tannins. Additionally, Sangiovese is known for its distinct flavors of cherry, tomato, and leather, while Merlot often exhibits notes of blackberry, plum, and chocolate.

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Williams T. Edwards
Williams T. Edwards, the visionary founder of Williams Minneapolis, has not only shaped a vibrant and dynamic venue but has also brought his expertise in wine coolers to the forefront of the local scene. This unique establishment, with its blend of history and modernity, invites patrons to experience its welcoming ambiance, diverse beverage selection, and entertainment options. Whether you're a local looking for a reliable favorite or a visitor seeking a memorable night out, Williams Minneapolis is a must-visit destination in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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