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What Italian Red Wine is Similar to Cabernet Sauvignon?

What Italian Red Wine is Similar to Cabernet Sauvignon?

No matter your preferred style of Cabernet Sauvignon wine - full-bodied and fruity or delicate and earthy - Italy has a selection of wines sure to suit every palate.

Italian red wines boast over 500 distinct varieties to satisfy any wine enthusiast. If you're looking to expand your collection, Vinovest may have just what you need!

Nero D’Avola 

Nero d'Avola resembles Cabernet Sauvignon with its full body and fruity character, though with thicker skinned grapes from Sicily's hot Mediterranean climate proving itself as ideal conditions. Once mostly used as a blend wine on labels; now making a comeback as single varietal wines in California and Australia as well.

Look for Nero d'Avola wines produced in Noto DOC of southern Sicily and Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOC of Ragusa and Siracusa provinces for wines with dark colors and intense fruit flavors; these can pair perfectly with grilled meats, stews, or any rich dishes!


Lagrein grapes can only be found in one small region in Italy's Alps, making this variety 250 times rarer than Pinot Noir. Lagrein produces full-bodied red wines with meaty flavors and intense tannins; for optimal results they should be aged for at least ten years, though shorter maceration times can soften its inherent austerity.

Young Lagrein wine boasts plum and black cherry aromas; as the bottle ages, its secondary notes of Chinese five spice, damson fruit, coffee bean aromas, and dark chocolate become evident. Pair this wine with beef dishes or hearty grilled dishes.

To assess a quality Lagrein, start with its opening; carefully note its intensity and cleanliness of aromas from plum and black cherry fruits. Next, take a sip and focus on its tannins which should find balance with wood and alcohol to form roundness; you may also detect pleasant balsamic notes such as menthol and eucalyptus notes - two excellent examples are Cantina Produduttori Bolzano's Alto Adige Lagrein Riserva Taber and Cantina Colterenzio's Alto Adige Lagrein Cornell from Cantina Produduttori Bolzano or Cantina Colterenzio's Alto Adige Lagrein Cornell for best results.


Primitivo (known in the US as Zinfandel) is an exciting Cabernet alternative that has gained in popularity in recent years. Primitivo wines tend to offer up a tasty mix of red and black fruits with tobacco notes and vanilla accents for an intriguing sensory experience.

As one of Italy's tannic grape varieties, Barbera is most often associated with Barolo of the south. Most widely grown in Basilicata and Campania regions, old vines produce powerful wines which need time in the cellar before producing dusty flavors of dark fruits, smoked meats, and figs.

If you prefer full-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, this alternative can make an excellent complement. With fruity notes of ripe red berries and subtle eucalyptus notes, it pairs nicely with hearty meat dishes or pasta with bolognese sauce.

Masseto Toscana IGT

Masseto is one of the best-known Super Tuscan wines produced from Merlot in Tuscany's Bolgheri region, boasting an exquisite balance between power and finesse, boasting lush fruitiness with an elegant finish - an excellent example of an Italian red wine suitable for ageing over time.

Masseto stands out with its distinct terroir of greyish-blue clay soil and proximity to the Tyrrhenian Sea, reflecting solar rays back onto the vineyard and helping grapes ripen more quickly. Furthermore, old and new vines coexist harmoniously for optimal fruit quality.

Since 1988, this wine has made waves for its intense combination of tannic acidity and fruit flavors, quickly becoming one of the world's most collectible wines. Recently, Massetino was added as another option from this estate, featuring Merlot and Cabernet Franc blends.

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What makes a wine a real Cellar Classic? From time to time we find ourselves marvelling at the creativity of the wine grower we always look to enrich our taste buds with something rather remarkable and share this with you.