Chianti Vs Cabernet Sauvignon

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Valiano 6.38 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016

Valiano 6.38 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016


Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018


Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon are dry red wines with a medium to high amount of alcohol. They’re relatively cheap as far as wines go and pair well with a number of dishes. The former is an Italian wine, and the latter is a French wine. But as we explore their differences later, we’ll learn that they have many similarities despite different countries of origin.

What Is Similar About Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon?

Both Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon are red wines with medium to heavy body. They are dry and tart with a decent amount of alcohol. Overall, some people say they have similar flavors, likely because their grapes have similar qualities. However, these wines can be difficult to choose between due to their subtle differences. When in doubt, consider what you’ll be eating with the wine, whether it’s a snack or meal, and then choose the wine that best compliments that food. Wine pairing isn’t a requirement to enjoy wine, but there’s no reason to buy a wine that lessens the experience of your favorite food.

A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon - Chianti Vs Cabernet Sauvignon.

What Is The Difference Between Chianti Vs. Cabernet Sauvignon?

Chianti wine is only officially produced in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy. When produced elsewhere, even if the same grapes are used, it still cannot be called Chianti wine. This is much like how Champagne has strict requirements on where it’s produced. Chianti is a wine blend, so it’s made from at least two different grapes. The most popular grapes used to make Chianti wine are Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. That’s right; Chianti wine can contain Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a great reason to purchase both wines and compare them.

On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon is a French wine. It’s produced from one grape which was a naturally occurring cross between the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc wine grapes. Although it originates from France, today, it’s grown almost everywhere in the world, capable of having a winery. This is because Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are extremely hardy and resistant to disease.

Which One Is Sweeter Or Drier Than The Other?

Although both wines are considered dry, Chianti tends to be a little sweeter than Cabernet Sauvignon. Of course, there are exceptions to this, especially since Chianti is a wine blend, not a specific wine that comes from one grape. Unfortunately, if you’re not already familiar with a wine before purchasing it, it’s often hard to say whether it’s “sweeter” than another dry wine.

Which One Has More Alcohol Content?

Cabernet Sauvignon is a high alcohol wine without treading into fortified wine territory. It can have a little more than 15% ABV and rarely less than 13.5%. Chianti is a little less potent at 12% to 13% ABV. If the alcohol content is especially important, but you’re also set on drinking wine rather than a spirit, consider a wine mixed with a spirit, such as Cocchi Barolo Chinato Italian Red, which is 16.5%.

How Do I Choose Between Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon?

Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon have subtle differences between their levels of sweetness and alcohol percentage. So if these factors are most important to you, it’s a toss-up. However, Chianti is more versatile when it comes to food pairings. It generally goes well with any tomato-based dish like spaghetti, lasagna, or even pizza. There’s also not a huge price difference, but Cabernet Sauvignon usually has more options in the lower range, around $5 to $10.


Both Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon are great red wines for a dinner party or more casual affairs. Chianti is a little more versatile but has less alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon is a tiny bit drier for those who prefer really dry wines. In the end, it’s likely not possible to know which you’ll prefer until you try them. Fortunately, both wines are very reasonably priced, and depending on where you live, you might be able to grab both bottles for around $10.

Valiano 6.38 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016

Valiano 6.38 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016


Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018