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The red grape variety originates from Italy. It was created in the 1870s by the vineyard owner Clemente Santi on his estate Il Greppo (today Biondi-Santi) in Montalcino in Tuscany. From this year onwards, he selected special vines with particularly compact grapes of the Sangiovese variety. This special clone was previously assigned to a group called "Sangiovese Grosso" on the basis of analyses carried out at the beginning of the 20th century and was first mentioned in documents under this name as early as 1842. However, the long held view of a better quality is no longer considered correct today, because DNA-wise it does not differ at all from the Sangiovese variety.

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