Finding The Difference Between Nebbiolo And Sangiovese Wine

Jonas Muthoni

Nebbiolo vs Sangiovese is a question that comes up often, how are they different and is one really better than the other. While they are both Italian wine grapes, they have a lot of similarities as well as differences. Still wondering if you should order a glass of Nebbiolo or Sangiovese wine tonight?

Features of the Wines

Let’s break it down between Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, so you can differentiate them more easily when you’re drinking your wines.

1. A Brief Overview of the Two Grape Varieties

Sangiovese Wine

  • Sangiovese wine mainly belongs to the Tuscany region of Italy. It is also grown in other parts of Italy like Romagna, Umbria and Campania.
  • Not just Italy now it is also grown and produced in countries like USA, Argentina, and Australia too. Nielluccio is the second largest region to yield this wine.
  • Like few other wine grape varieties, these grapes also express their terror and gives different flavors depending on the place they are grown. Even the grapes grown in different parts of Italy gives different subtle flavors to the wine.
  • This red grape variety is very versatile, can adapt to its environment easily; hence can thrive in different climates and is considered to be one of the easiest wine grapes to grow.

Nebbiolo Wine

  • Nebbiolo wine also has its origin from a region called Piedmont of northwest Italy, where this wine is still grown and produced. It is as popular as the most high-quality and significant wines that are originated from Italy. That title was given to it after the Barolo DOCG was approved, one of the first appellations in Italy to receive this title.
  • When it comes to the versatility of these wine grapes, they are very challenging to grow, but Nebbiolo can in turn, be very rewarding to the patient grower and drinker.
  • Nebbiolo thrives on soils like calcareous marl, a lime-rich mudstone that is found near the bank of the Tanaro River, home to the famous appellations Barolo and Barbaresco.

2. Nebbiolo vs Sangiovese – The Taste Difference

Sangiovese Wine

  • As I have mentioned that Sangiovese expresses its terror, so its taste depends on where it is grown and produced. Still, some primary flavors that run constantly are red cherry, strawberry, plum, and raspberry.
  • It has some savory flavors like leather, clay, tomato, smoke and tobacco.
  • It has sharp acidic levels and a complex profile to offer.
  • This wine also loved in its blended versions. It is mostly blended with light wines to balance out its intense flavors.

Nebbiolo Wine

  • Nebbiolo wine has a light shade of ruby color which changes to slightly brick orange as it gets aged.
  • It offers flavors of dried fruits, rose, tar, leather, and clove.
  • With intense flavors and high acidity levels, it is also high in tannins.
  • It has a robust structure and reason for its ability to be aged for decades.
  • It is a dry style wine that has a medium to a high level of alcohol content.

Nebbiolo vs Sangiovese – Comparison Table

Category Nebbiolo Sangiovese
Appearance It has a light yet bold red color which changes to slightly brick orange if aged. It comes with a bright cherry red color and appeals the eyes.
Aroma It has aroma of fruity and floral notes. You will find hints of cherries, fruitcake, leather, clove and anise in this wine. It has aromas of vanilla, leaves, berries, and anise. The older versions give some hints of figs, roses and dried cherry scents.
Sweetness It is usually made in dry style with a chalky tannin taste. This wine also falls on the dry style of wines but can be found a semi dry one too!
Alcohol It has an alcohol content of roughly 14.5% by volume. It has an alcohol content of typically between 13-14% by volume.
Ageing Potential It cannot be aged for too long but the best quality versions can be aged up to five to ten years. It is best enjoyed in its early lives but can aged up to 20 years.
Food Pairings It goes well with food like meaty dishes such as braised meats, ribeye steaks, or bean-based vegetarian chilis. It goes well with foods like steaks, roasted game birds, rich chicken or mushroom dishes or anything served with tomato sauce.

The Similarities Between Nebbiolo and Sangiovese

Nebbiolo and Sangiovese are two wines that can easily be mistaken for one another. They are quite similar in appearance, but the real difference comes out in the taste. Both Nebbiolo and Sangiovese are red wines that originate in Italy. They both get their names from their grapes; Nebbiolo, which means “fog” in Italian, and Sangiovese, which means “blood of Jove,” referring to the Roman God Jupiter. Both wines are light-bodied and have a medium acidity level. They have similar alcohol percentages as well, usually ranging from 12-13% for Nebbiolo and 11-13% for Sangiovese.

See Also


If you’re looking to purchase a bottle of Nebbiolo or Sangiovese wine, the best choice is ultimately going to depend on your own preferences and tastes. Both are great choices for a wide range of meals and pairings, and both will leave you more satisfied. However, the choice between the two is ultimately an individual one for every person, and we hope that this feature has helped you decide which type of wine is right for you.

Also, check the best places for your next wine vacation.

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