Canaiolo is the variety that has typically always accompanied the Sangiovese grapes in the blending of Chianti and is widespread throughout central Italy as a complementary grape. In agronomic terms it is not a vigorous vine but it tends to produce an excessive amount of grapes, to the detriment of the wine quality and especially the intensity and colour stability, which has always been considered, often wrongly, its weak point. It matures in the third year between late September and early October. The smooth floral characteristics of the bouquet round out some of the angularity of Sangiovese, particularly in young wines. Managed appropriately this notable grape, can make a very elegant wine with good longevity.
Sangiovese is the fundamental grape of Chianti and of Tuscany in general, although it is now widely distributed nationally and internationally. In Tuscany it is the primary component, sometimes the only component, in the important DOCG wines such as Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Carmignano, and Morellino di Scansano. A long history of propagation by seed, mutations accumulated through different interactions with the environment and selection pressures for different oenological aims have contributed to a huge variability within the one variety, so much so, that Sangiovese can truly be called a “vine group". It is a vigorous variety, with reasonable “plasticity”, that adapts well to different pruning regimes. It prefers a dry climate and soil with low fertility and tolerates wind and drought. It produces its most authentic flavour on calcareous soils. Vinified in its pure form gives it maximum expression; a ruby red wine, never too intense, a complex nose with floral notes such as viola and red fruits such as ripe plums. It is a wine that often requires a long ageing in wood to reach optimum softness and pleasantness.
A coloured vine traditionally distributed around the hills of Lucca and which matures quite early. For many decades, this grape has been used in a partially dried form to add to Sangiovese, to boost the colour of Chianti. Recently, its use has been significantly reduced due to a broader selection of Sangiovese varieties, but also because of the increased use of non-indigenous grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the composition of Chianti. Some producers have however, succeeded in obtaining excellent results from Colorino, even when used in its pure form, thanks to careful clonal selection.
Syrah is considered one of the most noble red grapes, a fact clearly confirmed by its ability to make great wines, long-lived, complex, dense and rich in personality. The origin of Syrah is somewhat uncertain, however, the most common hypothesis maintains that this grape originates in the Middle East. If its origins are still uncertain, however, it remains certain that the Syrah grape was already grown and used for the production of wines in the Rhone Valley during the Roman Empire. The Rhone Valley still produces extraordinary wines from Syrah, which are regarded in world oenology as having solid credentials. Syrah is also known for its typical aroma of black pepper, a feature which in this grape, when grown to high quality standards and in particular regions or climatic conditions, is so obvious that it is virtually impossible not to perceive it amongst the rich repertoire of flavours. The Syrah grape matures quite late, developing rather compact bunches and elongated berries with dark colour. The aromatic composition of Syrah is somewhat rich and, more than many other grapes, is strongly affected by environmental, cultivation and climatic conditions.