Sangiovese is easily one of my favorite wines to pair with food. It’s versatile, with many different interpretations that open up numerous opportunities for pairings. I would place sangiovese in my top five food-friendly wines, with many examples simply needing food to shine. I can’t tell you how many times the comment, "this needs food," has been made when discussing chianti, brunello, or vino nobile.
You see, sangiovese is a high acidity, light-bodied grape that shows hearty tannic structure in its youth. For chianti, a wine that traditionally blends sangiovese with canaiolo, ciliegiolo, mammolo, or colorino, it is the blending partners that lend the wine its color and softer personality.
When sangiovese is made as a mono-varietal wine, it takes low yields, long macerations, and severe wood aging regiments to achieve the color and depth that we all love. These practices may give us hearty wines, but they also magnify the structural components and can make them difficult to enjoy young or without food.
Sangiovese is worth that extra effort. Even if you’ve sworn off chianti classico for its wild and unpredictable nature, I assure you that there is ample reason to give it another chance.
— Eric Guido, Snooth