Tempranillo Vs. Cabernet Sauvignon

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Bodegas Ordonez – Toro Vatan Tinta de Toro 2018

Bodegas Ordonez – Toro Vatan Tinta de Toro 2018


Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon 2019


Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon are dry red wines originating from Spain and France, respectively. Both wines are quite fruit-forward, but Cabernet Sauvignon can sometimes have a noticeable bell pepper taste. They have a similar amount of alcohol, usually around 13.5% to 15% ABV. A major difference is that Tempranillo is rarely sold as a single varietal wine. This is because winemakers find that it tastes better to blend it with others.

What Is Similar About Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon?

Both Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon are red wines, and they’re originating countries are only about 600 miles apart. In addition, Cabernet Sauvignon is often one wine included in Tempranillo blends. So the wines are, by definition, quite similar since part of Tempranillo is Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines have a moderate to high amount of alcohol, especially compared to sweet white wines, which can have as little as 5% ABV.

Both wine grapes are grown in other countries, not just in their originating countries. This is true for many wines but not all. Tempranillo is more limited, however, and is produced by fewer countries than Cabernet Sauvignon. This can be for several reasons; for example, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are easy to grow and not very susceptible to rot. In addition, Tempranillo just isn’t as popular as Cabernet Sauvignon. Unless you’re already familiar with wines, you may not have heard of Tempranillo at all, which might also be a byproduct of being more difficult to grow.

A bottle of wine with black label on it - Super Tuscan Vs. Cabernet Sauvignon.

What Is The Difference Between Tempranillo Vs. Cabernet Sauvignon?

Tempranillo is a blend of red wines that often contains Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine made from one grape of the same name. Tempranillo can contain several different grapes, and the result is a much more neutral wine than Cabernet Sauvignon. It more easily takes on flavors like vanilla or tobacco when it’s aged in oak barrels. The name Tempranillo is based on the Spanish word for early, which is a reference to how its grapes ripen earlier than other varieties.

Tempranillo can be found as a stand-alone variety, but it’s more popular as a blend. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to make a truly enjoyable wine from Tempranillo grapes alone. But it’s vastly improved with only a 10% addition of other wines. This wine can also be easier to pair than Cabernet Sauvignon. Any tomato-based dish works well, in addition to grilled meats, tacos, and even grits.

Which One Is Sweeter Or Drier Than The Other?

Both Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo can be described as medium-dry wines. This means they’re not bone dry, but they’re not semi-sweet or sweet either. If you’re looking for a drier red wine, consider a French Malbec wine such as Chateau de Mercues Malbec de Cahors Grand Vin, 2016. For a sweet red, try a Shiraz wine.

Which One Has More Alcohol Content?

These wines have roughly the same amount of alcohol; there’s no clear winner here. Cabernet Sauvignon might have a higher alcohol percentage on average, but not by much. If high alcohol content is important to you, both wines should work well because they already have more alcohol than most.

How Do I Choose Between Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon?

Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon are very similar in many ways, so choosing between them can be a chore. Tempranillo might be a harder wine to find. Most wine stores should carry it, but you’re unlikely to see the same selection that Cabernet Sauvignon has. In addition, it goes by other names, especially in Spain.


These dry red wines have many similarities. But an important difference is that Tempranillo is a blend of wines. Therefore it can differ significantly depending on the blend. Cabernet Sauvignon is also a more popular wine that’s grown in many places. So wine stores are more likely to have a greater selection with lower prices.

Bodegas Ordonez – Toro Vatan Tinta de Toro 2018

Bodegas Ordonez – Toro Vatan Tinta de Toro 2018


Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon 2019