Merlot vs Cabernet (What Are The Differences Between Them?)

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Merlot vs Cabernet

While there are many different types of red wine, merlot and cabernet sauvignon are two of the most popular. 

When most people think of red wine, merlot is usually the first varietal that comes to mind. Cabernet Sauv, on the other hand, is often seen as a more complex wine that’s better suited for more experienced wine drinkers. 

Both wines have a distinctive flavor that sets them apart from other types of red wine, but what’s the difference: Merlot vs Cabernet? Which one should you be drinking?

Merlot vs Cabernet

Both wines hail from the Bordeaux region of France. While they were cultivated independently, it’s clear that these wines have a healthy rivalry with one another as their similarities are more than just surface-level. Merlots tend to be fruitier while Cab Savignon has deeper tones thanks in part due to its proximity across an old river boundary which bred some pretty intense rivalries among winemakers there over time! 

That has led to an interesting story between these two closely related wines: Merlot was developed independently before being plagiarized by Cabernet.

They each sport their own set-apart flavor because they hail from opposite sides of a river creating a friendly rivalry between them – not to mention how close this Merlot vs Cab actually are!

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the differences between Merlot vs Cabernet, and explore which one might be right for you. We’ll also discuss how to store and serve these wines, some of the different flavor profiles each grape varietal exhibits, and provide some food pairing suggestions, so you can enjoy them at their best. 

What Is Merlot?

What is Merlot

Before we go into the cabernet sauvignon vs merlot comparison, we will also provide the characteristics of each so you have a better understanding of them. Merlot is a red wine grape that is used as both a blending grape and as a varietal wine. Merlot-based wines usually have soft tannins and are easy to drink. It is also one of the main grapes in Bordeaux wines. Its grape ripens earlier, which is why it is often blended with Sauv to produce softer, earlier drinking wines.

Characteristics:

– the wines are typically softer and more approachable than other red wines.

– It is a good choice for beginners who are new to drinking red wine.

– These wines often have notes of chocolate, coffee, and berries.

Some popular wines:

– Bogle Merlot

– Canyon Road Merlot

– Charles Shaw Merlot (Two Buck Chuck)

Styles of this wine:

– New World: These are typically fruit-forward, with soft tannins and high alcohol levels. New World Merlots are typically made in a more approachable style, meant to be consumed young.

– Old World: Old World are typically made in a more traditional style, with firmer tannins and lower alcohol levels. These wines are meant to be cellared and consumed after several years of aging.

How to serve

– Served at room temperature, around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

– It can be decanted (poured into a different container) before serving to help it breathe and open up its flavors.

– Pairing well with a variety of foods, including meats, cheeses, and pasta dishes.

Interesting facts about Merlot:

– It is one of the main grapes used in the production of Bordeaux wines.

– This wine is a French word meaning “young blackbird.”

– It is the most planted grape variety in France.

What Is Cabernet Sauvignon?

Moving on, another wine in the cabernet sauvignon vs merlot comparison. Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine grape that is grown in almost every major wine-producing country in the world. They are usually full-bodied with high tannins and high alcohol content. They can benefit from aging and often improve in quality over several years.

Characteristics:

– Full-bodied with high tannins.

– They can benefit from aging and often improve in quality over time.

– They often have notes of blackcurrant, cedar, and tobacco.

Some popular Sauv:

– Beringer Main & Vine Cabernet Sauvignon

– Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

– Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

Interesting facts:

– It is a French word meaning “wild blackberry.”

– This wine is the world’s most planted red wine grape.

– It is a parent grape of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

Styles of the wine:

– They can be made in a variety of styles, from light and fruity to rich and full-bodied.

– It is often combined with other grapes to create more complex wines.

How to serve this wine:

– It should be served at room temperature, around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Can be decanted (poured into a different container) before serving to help it breathe and open up its flavors.

– Pairing well with a variety of foods, including meats, cheeses, and pasta dishes.

What is the Difference Between Merlot and Cabernet?

Tasting Notes

When it comes to difference between merlot and cabernet, the first thing people think about is probably their taste. Merlot is a light-bodied red wine with flavors of berries and earth. It has low tannin levels, which results in dryness but also distinctiveness for its delicate taste profile made from fruit aromas combined nicely with complementary notes like vanilla clove mocha within each mouthful.

Sauv is a strong, bold wine that many people find too dry to enjoy on its own. However, it’s perfect as an ingredient in other wines because of how well they cut through the tannins and offer hints of flavors like cherry or vanilla while still retaining some oaky essence from aging under barrels during the production process.

Ageing Potential

Another difference when comparing merlot vs cabernet is their aging potential. Merlot wines usually do not improve with age, this makes it best to drink young. its aging potential is about 3-5 years.

Another has long aging potential, with some Cabernet Sauv drinking well 10–20+ years after the vintage date.

Body

Merlot wines are typically medium-bodied, While the others are full-bodied.

What is medium-bodied or full-bodied? The body of wine is how the wine feels in your mouth. A wine’s body is determined by the amount of alcohol and glycerin in the wine. The more alcohol and glycerin, the fuller-bodied the wine will be.

Winemaking

Merlot grapes are mostly used for blending purposes with other Bordeaux varietals like Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. They tend to be fruitier and softer than other Bordeaux wines because their grape has thinner skin than the other Bordeaux grapes. It is usually barrel-aged for around 12 months before being released.

Sauv grapes are used to make some of the most famous wines in the world like Château Margaux and Château Lafite Rothschild. its wines are usually made in a similar way to Merlot wines, with the grape skins being removed from the juice before fermentation to create a softer wine. It is often barrel-aged for 18 months or more before being released.

Tannins

Merlot wines usually have softer tannins.

What is tannin? Tannin is a natural compound found in the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes. Tannin gives wine its astringent taste and can make your mouth feel dry. Tannin is also responsible for the aging potential of red wines. The longer a wine ages, the more the tannins soften and the better the wine tastes.

Acidity

Merlot wines have high acidity, and the other wines have low acidity.

What is acidity? Acidity is a measure of how tart or sour a wine tastes. Acidity is important in wine because it gives the wine its freshness and balance. Too much acidity can make a wine taste too tart or sour, while too little acidity can make a wine taste flat.

Sugar Content

Merlot wines have high sugar content, and Sauv has low sugar content.

What is sugar content? The sugar content of a wine is the amount of sugar that is left in the wine after fermentation.

In order to make the wine more appealing, it has been pasteurized and then reduced with yeast. This process leaves behind a lot of sugar that will lead you into experiencing sweeter flavors in your mouth as opposed to if there were no added sugars or less than 5 grams per serving limit on average by law (for alcoholic drinks).

The sugar content of wine can range from 0% to over 20%. Wines with higher sugars will taste sweeter than those that have lower amounts.

Alcohol Content

First wines tend to have lower alcohol content. They have an average alcohol content of 12%, while Sauv has an average alcohol content of 13.5%.

The alcohol content in a wine is the percentage of ethanol by volume (ABV). The normal range for an ABV goes from 8% up to 14%, but some wines can have higher or lower levels depending on their style. For example, sweet reds like port and sauvignon wines contain about 10-12%. Whites such as chardonnay average around 6%-8%.

Wine with high concentrations tends towards being spICer while those containing less than 5% are perceived more gently.

Color

Mer wines are typically a deep red color, while CS wines are a lighter red color.

The color of wine is determined by the type of grape used, the amount of time the grape skins are left in contact with the juice, and the type of barrels used for aging. Merlot wines tend to be a deep red color because its grape has thicker skin than other grapes used for making red wine. The thicker skin gives the wine more pigment, which makes the wine appear darker in color.

Sauvignon wines are usually a lighter red color because its grape has thinner skin than other grapes used for making red wine. The thinner skin gives the wine less pigment, which makes the wine appear lighter in color.

Price

Merlot wines are typically less expensive than the other wines. They are in the range of $10 – $20. Whereas, Sauvignon wines are in the range of $20 – $100.

What makes it so expensive? The answer is simple. The demand for Sauv wines is high and the supply is low. This makes it one of the most expensive wines in the world.

Climate

The first is best grown in cool climates, while the other wines are best grown in warm climates.

What is the difference between a cool climate and a warm climate? A cool climate is one where the temperatures are not too hot and not too cold. Cool climate regions are typically found near the coasts. A warm climate is one where the temperatures are typically hot. Warm climate regions are typically found inland.

What effect did climate have on Merlot and Cabernet? Merlot is a grape that prefers cooler climates. The Merlot grape is thin-skinned and does not like hot weather. This is why Merlot wines are typically fruitier and softer than other Bordeaux wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape that prefers warm climates. It has thick skin and can handle hot weather. This is why Sauvignon wines are typically bolder and more tannic than Merlot wines.

Soil Type

The first prefer clay soils, while Cabernet wines prefer sandy soils.

What is the difference between clay soil and sandy soil? Clay soil is made up of small particles of minerals that have been weathered over time. Sandy soil is made up of larger particles of minerals that have been weathered over time.

How does soil type affect Merlot and Cabernet? Merlot wines are best enjoyed when they have plenty of moisture to help them mature and release their full flavor. The clay-loving Merlots need this because being thin-skinned means that if there isn’t enough water holding onto the fruit then harshness can occur due to lack of taste or finish which would not be desirable for anyone!

Sauvignon wines love a good shake! The more sandy the soil, the better. This is important for two reasons: firstly since these grapes are thick-skinned and can get rot if they’re not drained properly; secondly -and most importantly-, wines made from this variety definitely benefit from having some ballast in their vats to help settle out excess moisture as you squeeze down on those delicious Jr vineyards 😉

Food Pairings

Merlot wines pair well with food that is not too heavy, while Cabernet pair well with food that is heavier.

What is the difference between food that is not too heavy and food that is heavier? Food that is not too heavy typically has lighter flavors, while food that is heavier typically has bolder flavors.

Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot are both great wines for a variety of dishes, but they have specialty pairings.

Merlot wines are best paired with lighter dishes such as grilled chicken or fish. The light flavors of Merlot will not overwhelm the delicate taste buds in your mouth, but instead, complement it well by adding more complexity to an otherwise simple dish! 

Cabernet is another story entirely; heavy meats like steak go great alongside this bold wine that has powerful tones for those looking specifically at what they’re eating (and drinking).

Some recipes combined with Merlot:

– Merlot-Braised Short Ribs with creamy polenta

– Merlot Mushroom Risotto

– Grilled Chicken with Merlot Sauce

Some recipes combined with Sauvignon:

-Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs with creamy polenta

-Sauvignon Mushroom Risotto

-Grilled Chicken with Cabernet Sauce

Blending

Merlot vs Cabernet is often blended together. Blending is when two or more wines are combined together. The most common blend is Merlot and Cabernet, which is called a Bordeaux blend.

What are the benefits of blending two wines? Blending them can create a wine that has the best of both worlds. Merlot adds fruitiness and softness, while Cabernet adds structure and tannins.

Bordeaux wines are some of the most famous and expensive in the world. They are made from a blend of wines, with Cabernet being the dominant grape.

Some of the most famous Bordeaux wines:

-Château Margaux

-Château Lafite Rothschild

-Château Latour

-Château Haut-Brion

These wines can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per bottle! If you want to try a Bordeaux blend without breaking the bank, there are many affordable options available.

Here are some affordable blends:

-Castello di Bossi Bertani Due Uve

-Cascina Chicco Barbera d’Asti Superiore

-Château Haut-Bailly Pessac-Léognan

-Clos du Bois Merlot North Coast

-Cousiño-Macul Cabernet Maipo Valley

Serving

Wines are typically served at slightly different temperatures. The first is best served at 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit, while the other is best served at 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serving Merlot:

-To serve Merlot, open the bottle about 30 minutes before you plan on serving it.

-Pour the wine into a decanter or carafe to aerate it.

-Pour the wine into glasses and enjoy!

Serving Cabernet:

-To serve Sauvignon, open the bottle about an hour before you plan on serving it.

-Pour the wine into a decanter or carafe to aerate it.

-Pour the wine into glasses and enjoy!

See more: The number of glasses in a wine bottle

Regions

Two grapes are grown in many different regions around the world.

Some of the most famous Merlot-producing regions are:

-Bordeaux, France

-Pomerol, France

-Tuscany, Italy

-Napa Valley, California

-Washington State

Some of the most famous Cabernet-producing regions are:

-Bordeaux, France

-Napa Valley, California

-Columbia Valley, Washington

-Coorg, India

Vintage

The vintage is the year that the grapes were harvested. The vintage can have a big impact on the taste of the wine.

For example, Merlot wines from the Bordeaux region of France are usually better in years when the weather is warm and dry. Merlot grapes need a lot of sun to ripen properly, so hot, dry summers are ideal.

Cabernet wines are usually better in years when the weather is cooler. Its grapes need a little bit of stress to produce high-quality wines. Cooler temperatures during the growing season help to produce these stresses.

So, if you’re looking for a good Merlot wine, look for a wine from a warm, dry vintage. If you’re looking for a good Cabernet wine, look for a wine from a cooler vintage.

“Old World” and “New World”

Merlot is considered an “old world” wine, while The other is a “new world” wine.

This is due to the fact that Merlot has been around for centuries, while cabernet is a relatively new varietal. It was only created in the 18th century, while Merlot has been around since the 13th century. 

The difference in age means that Merlot has had more time to develop and refine its flavor profile, while cabernet is still evolving and changing. This is one of the reasons why Merlot is often seen as a more complex wine.

See more: pinot grigio vs sauvignon blanc

Which Wine Should You Choose?

Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon? It depends on your personal preferences. If you’re looking for a softer, more approachable red wine, Merlot is a good choice. If you’re looking for a full-bodied red wine with high tannins and the potential to improve with age, the other is a better choice.

Of course, there are many other factors to consider when choosing a wine, such as food pairings and price. Ultimately, the best way to find out which wine you prefer is to try both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and see for yourself! Cheers!

Top 3 Merlots to try:

-Castello di Bossi Bertani Due Uve

-Cascina Chicco Barbera d’Asti Superiore

-Clos du Bois Merlot North Coast

Top 3 classic Cabs to try:

-Chateau Margaux

-Chateau Lafite Rothschild

-Chateau Latour

FAQs

Which wine is better for different occasions

Merlot vs Cabernet is both versatile wines that can be enjoyed in a variety of situations.

When to Choose Merlot:

-If you’re looking for an easy-drinking red wine to enjoy with dinner, Merlot is a great choice.

-If you’re looking for a red wine to enjoy with friends at a casual gathering, Merlot is a great choice.

-If you’re looking for a red wine to enjoy at a picnic or outdoor event, Merlot is a great choice.

When to Choose Cabernet Sauvignon:

-If you’re looking for a wine to impress your boss or clients, Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice.

-If you’re looking for a wine to enjoy with a formal dinner, Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice.

-If you’re looking for a wine to enjoy at a party or celebration, Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice.

So, whether you’re looking for a wine to enjoy with your friends or wine to impress your boss, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are both great options!

Factors To Consider When Buying Merlot or Cabernet Wine

There are a few factors you should consider when buying Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

-First, consider the region where the grapes were grown. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from different regions will taste different.

-Second, consider the vintage of the wine. The vintage is the year that the grapes were harvested. The vintage can have a big impact on the taste of the wine.

-Third, consider your personal preferences. If you’re looking for a softer, more approachable red wine, Merlot is a good choice. If you’re looking for a full-bodied red wine with high tannins and the potential to improve with age, Cabernet Sauvignon is a better choice.

-Finally, consider the price. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines can range in price from affordable to very expensive. Choose a wine that fits your budget.

What Are Some Brands of Each Wine?

There are many brands of Merlot vs Cabernet wines. Here are some popular brands:

All brand of Merlot:

-Bogle Merlot

-Concha y Toro Merlot

-Cottonwood Merlot

-de Bortoli Merlot

-Yellow Tail Merlot

Besides, Merlot is a wine that is produced by many different wineries all over the world. So, you can find Merlot wines from France, Italy, Chile, Australia, and the United States.

All brand of Cabernet Sauvignon:

-19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon

-Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon

-Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon

-Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon

-Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

Like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced by many different wineries all over the world. So, you can find Cabernet Sauvignon wines from France, Italy, Chile, Australia, and the United States.

Where To Find The Best Deals On Each Wine?

There are a few ways to find the best deals on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

-First, check your local grocery store or wine shop. Many stores have sales or promotions on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

-Second, check online retailers such as Amazon.com or Wine.com. You can often find good deals on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from these retailers.

-Finally, sign up for the mailing lists of your favorite wineries. Many wineries offer discounts and promotions to members of their mailing list. So, you can often find good deals on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines by signing up for the mailing lists of your favorite wineries.

Conclusion

So, what’s the difference between merlot and cabernet sauvignon? The main difference between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is that Merlot is a lighter-bodied red wine while Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine. Merlot also has lower tannin levels than Cabernet Sauvignon, which results in a dryer but more distinctive taste. Cabernet Sauvignon also has higher aging potential than Merlot, with some Cabernet Sauvignon wines drinking well 10–20+ years after the vintage date.

While both wines have a distinct flavor, merlot is typically softer and more approachable, while cabernet sauvignon is often seen as a more complex wine. If you’re new to drinking red wine, merlot is a good place to start. If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated, cabernet sauvignon may be more up your alley. 

When it comes to storage and serving, both wines benefit from being stored in a cool, dark place and served at room temperature. As for food pairings, both grapes go well with hearty meats and rich sauces. 

Whether you choose to drink merlot or cabernet sauvignon, you’re sure to enjoy the distinct flavor of each wine. And of course, you should also master some basic knowledge to make your experience the best possible like understanding how to pour wine, the etiquette of drinking it and what temperature to serve red wine. We hope you found this “Merlot vs Cabernet” post informative and helpful, and that you’ll be able to enjoy these wines with confidence.

If you have a lot of questions about wine, you can ask questions on ryujinramenbrooklyn, we are always ready to answer them. Cheers!

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Anthony Michelin

Anthony Michelin

Founder

For the purpose of sharing knowledge with each other, we have jointly created this website, where you can get useful information from us and also where we expand our knowledge through the comments from you.

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