Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon: The Basics of Them

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One of the most common questions wine enthusiasts has is the difference between pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. While both wines are delicious, they have the unique characteristics that set them apart.

Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon

Which wine is better, pinot noir vs cabernet sauvignon? This is a question that has long been debated by wine lovers worldwide. While there are many different opinions on the matter, we will attempt to provide some answers in this post. Firstly, let’s look at the differences between these two types of wine. Then, we’ll discuss what makes each one unique and explore why some people prefer one over the other.

Finally, we’ll give a verdict on which wine we believe is better overall. Then, we’ll look at their history, flavor profiles, and food pairings to see how they stack up against each other. So without further ado, let’s get started!          

See more: Merlot vs Pinot Noir

What Is Pinot Noir?

What is Pinot Noir

It is a red wine made from the grape. It is a dry wine with high acidity and moderate tannins. They are light-bodied with earthy, floral, and fruity flavors. Although They can be enjoyed young, they often benefit from aging and develop even more complexity over time.

Characteristics:

-Light-bodied

-Moderate tannins

-High acidity

-Earthy, floral, and fruity flavors

History

The grape is thought to have originated in Burgundy, France. It is a descendant of the Pinot Gris and pinot blanc grapes. The wine has been grown in Burgundy for centuries, and the region is renowned for producing some of the best wines in the world.

The grape spread to other regions of France and eventually to other countries like Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, and the United States.

Interesting facts

-It is one of the oldest grape varieties in the world, and its name means “black forest pinot,” to the dark color of the grape.

-The grape is notoriously finicky, and it is challenging to grow successfully in many world regions.

-Burgundy is the most famous region for pinots, but the grape also thrives in Oregon and California.

– Pinots are often described as having “Burgundian” characteristics, meaning they are light-bodied with delicate flavors.

Pros and cons

Pros:

-Light-bodied and easy to drink

-Can be enjoyed young or aged

-Pairs well with a variety of foods

-Many different styles to choose from

Cons:

-Can be difficult to find a good bottle

-Not as universally loved as some other wines

Styles of this wine

-Burgundy: The most famous style, characterized by a light body and delicate flavors.

-Oregon: A lighter style with bright acidity and subtle fruit flavors.

-California: Full-bodied pinots with ripe fruit flavors and moderate tannins.

Some Producers of Good Quality Pinots

-Domaine Serene

-Joseph Phelps Vineyards

-Kistler Vineyards

-Ridge Vineyards

Top 10 popular Pinots:

  1. Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve
  2. Willamette Valley Vineyards 
  3. Paul Hobbs Crossbarn 
  4. Kistler 
  5. Siduri 
  6. Martin Ray 
  7. Belle Glos
  8. J Pinots
  9. La Crema
  10. MacMurray Ranch

Food Pairings

It is a versatile wine that can be enjoyed with various foods. It pairs well with lighter fare such as salads and fish but can also hold its own with heartier dishes like lamb and duck. When it comes to cheese, It is a great match for softer cheeses such as Brie or Camembert.

Some popular Pinot food pairings include grilled salmon, roasted chicken, lamb chops, and mushroom dishes.

Some recipes for Pinots:

-Creamy pinots and mushroom sauce: This sauce is the perfect pairing for grilled salmon, roasted chicken, or lamb chops.

-Roasted beet and berry salad with this wine vinaigrette: This salad is a great way to enjoy the flavors. The roasted beets and berries are complimented perfectly by the pinots vinaigrette.

-Pinots poached pears: These poached pears are a delicious and elegant dessert that can be enjoyed with a glass of pinot noir

-Pinots braised short ribs: These short ribs are cooked in the sauce until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve with mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

-Creamy pinots and mushroom pasta: This pasta is a delicious and easy weeknight meal. It can be on the table in under 30 minutes!

How To Choose a Good Pinot Noir

When choosing, it is important to consider the region where it was produced. They from Burgundy are some of the most highly sought-after. However, Pinots from Oregon and California can also be excellent. In general, They from cooler climates tend to be lighter in body and have more delicate flavors, while they from warmer climates are fuller-bodied with bolder fruit flavors.

It is also important to consider the age of the wine when making your purchase. Younger pinots are typically fruitier and more approachable, while older ones develop more complex flavors and can be quite powerful. If you are unsure about which wine to choose, our experts can help you find the perfect bottle for your needs.

How To Serve Pinots

It is best served at cellar temperature, around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be slightly chilled if you are serving the younger wine, but older wines should be allowed to come to room temperature before being served.

When decanting pinots, be sure to pour slowly so as not to disturb the sediment. Sediment is more likely to be found in older ones but can also be present in younger wines.

Some Health Benefits

-Contains high antioxidants, which can help protect the body against cell damage and disease.

-Pinots have been shown to have heart-healthy properties, including reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.

-Help to prevent cognitive decline and dementia.

Possible side effects

-Drinking in excess can cause headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

-It can also interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak to your doctor before drinking if you are taking any medication.

-Pregnant women should avoid drinking this wine due to the risk of miscarriage.

 Tips

-To get the most out of your wine, be sure to allow it to breathe before drinking. This will help to open up the flavors and aromas of the wine.

-If you are having trouble finding a good bottle, our experts can help you choose the perfect wine for your needs.

-When serving, be sure to pour slowly so as not to disturb the sediment. Sediment is more likely to be found in older pinot noirs but can also be present in younger wines.

What Is Cabernet Sauvignon?

It is a type of red wine made from cranberry grape. The resulting product has high acidity and moderate tannins with flavors including fruity, herbal, or oaky depending on how it was grown compared to other factors such as weather conditions, for example, ripeness level, which changes its profile over time too.

People who enjoy these wines typically sip them young but will benefit greatly when aged because their complexity becomes even greater after some patience has been exercised by wayward breezes, sun, and warmth.

Characteristics:

-Full-bodied

-High acidity

-Moderate tannins

-Fruity, herbal, or oaky flavors

History

The French were the first to plant the vineyards in Bordeaux during the 17th century, and by 1855, it was included as one of the six allowable grape varieties in the Medoc district.

The wine is now produced worldwide, with notable regions including France, Italy, Australia, Chile, South Africa, and California.

The grape is a crossing of cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc and was first documented in southwestern France in the 17th century.

The grape quickly gained popularity due to its early ripening and resistance to disease, making it well-suited to the Bordeaux region.

CS became one of the world’s most popular wines in the late 20th century, thanks in part to the success of California wines made from the grape.

Today, It is grown in nearly every central wine-producing region globally.

Interesting facts

-It is the most planted red grape globally, with over 280,000 acres planted globally.

-A crossing of two other grapes, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

-Originated in the Bordeaux region of France.

-Blended with other grapes, such as Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

-The flavors of blackcurrant and cassis are often associated with Cabernets.

Pros and cons

Pros:

-Versatile – can be enjoyed with a variety of foods

-Age-worthy – can improve with age

-Can be found in a wide range of price points

Cons:

-Tannic – can be astringent if not properly cellared

-High alcohol content – can cause headaches or make you feel flushed

-Requires specific glassware – cannot be enjoyed out of a standard wine glass

Styles

-Fruit-forward: These wines are typically made in warmer climate regions and tend to be more approachable, with fewer tannins and acidity.

-Full-bodied: They are made in cooler climate regions and tend to be richer and fuller-bodied, with higher tannins and acidity.

-Age-worthy: They are typically made in cooler climate regions and have high tannins that will soften over time. They have the potential to develop complex flavors over time and can improve with age.

-Budget-friendly: These are typically made in warmer climate regions and tend to be more affordable.

-Luxury: These are typically made in cooler climate regions and are the most expensive. They are usually age-worthy and have complex flavors.

Some Producers of Good Quality Cabernet Wines

-Chateau Montelena

-Silver Oak

-Caymus

-Heitz Martha’s Vineyard

-Grgich Hills Estate

-Rudd Oakville Estate

-PlumpJack Winery

-BV George de la Tour

-Stags’ Leap Winery

-Cakebread Cellars

Top 10 most popular Cabernets:

  1. Chateau Montelena
  2. Silver Oak
  3. Caymus
  4. Heitz Martha’s Vineyard
  5. Grgich Hills Estate
  6. Rudd Oakville estate 
  7. PlumpJack Winery
  8. BV George de Latour
  9. Stags’ Leap Winery
  10. Cakebread Cellars

Food Pairings

It pairs well with various foods, including red meat, poultry, and pasta dishes. When pairing this wine with food, it is important to consider the wine’s acidity, tannins, and body.

For example, with high acidity will pair well with rich, fatty foods that can help balance the wine’s acidity. Similarly, with high tannins will pair well with protein and fat foods, as the fat will help soften the wine’s tannins.

Some recipes for Cabernets:

-Beef tenderloin with cabernet sauvignon sauce: This recipe pairs the rich flavor of beef tenderloin with a cabernets sauce that is perfect for a special occasion.

-Roasted chicken with it: This recipe pairs the classic flavors of roasted chicken with a cabernets gravy.

-Cabernets-braised short ribs: This recipe pairs succulent short ribs with a wine gravy for a hearty and satisfying meal.

-Creamy pasta with mushrooms: This recipe pairs creamy pasta with mushrooms that have been cooked in the wine.

-Chicken breasts: This recipe pairs chicken breasts with a cabernets sauce, perfect for a weeknight meal.

– Lamb chops with cabernets reduction sauce: This recipe pairs the rich flavor of lamb chops with a cabernets reduction sauce.

-Cabernets chocolate cake: This recipe pairs the rich flavors of chocolate and the wine in a decadent cake.

How To Choose a Good Cabernets 

-When choosing this wine, look for a wine that is deep in color with flavors of blackberry, cherry, and cassis.

-A good wine will also have moderate tannins and acidity and a long finish.

-If you are looking for cabernets to age, look for a wine with high tannins that will soften over time.

-When choosing, it is also essential to consider the region in which the wine was produced. For example, Cabernets from Napa Valley are typically more fruit-forward, while those from Bordeaux are more earthy and complex.

The Wine Tips

-If you are new to drinking this wine, start with a wine from a warm climate region like California or Australia. These wines tend to be fruitier and less tannic than those from cooler climate regions.

-If you are decanting a cabernet, be sure to pour slowly so as not to disturb the sediment. Sediment is more likely to be found in older pinot noirs but can also be present in younger wines.

-When storing it, be sure to keep it in a cool, dark place. The ideal storage temperature for red wine is between 55 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

-It is best enjoyed with food, so be sure to pair it with a meal that will complement its flavors. Rich, fatty foods can help soften the wine’s tannins, while acidity-rich foods can help balance the wine’s acidity.

-If you are looking for a wine to age, look for a wine with high tannins that will soften over time. They from Bordeaux are typically the best for aging, as they have the potential to develop complex flavors over time.

-When choosing, it is also important to consider the region in which the wine was produced. For example, They from Napa Valley are typically more fruit-forward, while those from Bordeaux are more earthy and complex.

Some Health Benefits

-Prevent heart disease: The antioxidants present in this wine may help prevent heart disease.

-Protect against certain cancers: The polyphenols present in cabernets may help protect against certain types of cancer.

-Improve cognitive function: The resveratrol present in the wine may help improve cognitive function.

Possible side effects of Cabernets:

-Headaches: The high alcohol content in Sauvignons can cause headaches in some people.

-Flushing: The high alcohol content and sulfites present can cause flushing in some people.

-Allergies: Some people may be allergic to the sulfites present in The wine.

– Asthma: The sulfites present in cabernets can trigger asthma attacks in some people.

How To Serve Cabernets

-Cabernets should be served at room temperature, typically between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

-When serving, be sure to pour it into glasses that have been specifically designed for red wine. The shape of the glass helps to direct the wine to the back of the mouth, where it can be fully appreciated.

-If you are decanting a cabernet sauvignon, be sure to pour slowly so as not to disturb the sediment. Sediment is more likely to be found in older ones but can also be present in younger wines.

Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon: Differences and Similarities

Taste Noting

When it comes to pinot noir vs cabernet sauvignon, both wines have distinct flavors that set them apart. The first is typically lighter in body and flavor, with notes of cherry and strawberry. Cabernets generally are fuller-bodied, with bolder flavors of blackberry and cassis.

If you’re looking for a fruit-forward and approachable wine, Pinots are a good option. However, if you’re looking for a wine with more complex flavors that can improve with age, CS is better.

Body

When it comes to body, both wines both range from light to full-bodied. However, pinot noir wines are typically lighter in the body than the other. This is because the grapes have thinner skins than cabernet grapes.

Tannins

Tannins are compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems that give astringent wine quality. Pinots tend to have lower levels of tannins.

Acidity

Both wines can range from low to high in acidity. However, pinots tend to be more acidic. This is because the grapes are more delicate than cabernet grapes and can be easily affected by changes in weather or disease.

Price

Two wines can range in price from budget-friendly to luxury. However, cabernets are typically more expensive. This is because its grapes are more difficult to grow and produce than pinot noir grapes.

Origin

Pinots originated in the Burgundy region of France, while the other originated in the Bordeaux region.

Some other places that can produce these two wines are:

-Oregon

-California

-Chile

-Australia

Ageability

Pinot noir wines are typically more age-worthy than cabernet sauvignon. This is because the grapes are more delicate than cabernet sauvignon grapes. As a result, They can improve with age for up to 10 years, while cabernet sauvignon wines are typically at their best within 5-7 years of harvest.

Grape Characteristics

Grape Characteristics

Pinot noir grapes are small, round, and dark-skinned. They are typically high in acidity and low in tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are large, oval-shaped, and dark-skinned. They are typically high in tannins and moderate in acidity.

Winemaking

Pinot noir wines are typically made using whole cluster fermentation, meaning that the entire grape bunch is fermented together, skins, seeds, and all. On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon wines are typically made using destemmed and crushed grapes. The juice is then fermented without the skins or seeds.

Fining and Filtering

Fining is a process that is used to remove impurities from wine. For example, Pinot noir wines are typically fined with egg whites or bentonite clay, while cabernet sauvignon wines are usually fined with activated charcoal.

Filtering is a process used to remove yeast and bacteria from wine. Pinots are typically filtered using diatomaceous earth, while cabernet sauvignon wines are usually filtered using cellulose pads.

What effect do they have on the two wines? Fining and filtering can both help to improve the clarity and stability of wine. However, they can also strip away some of the flavor and aroma compounds that give the wine its character.

Cellaring

Both wines can benefit from cellaring. Cellaring can help to improve the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of the wine. Pinot noir wines are typically at their best after 3-5 years of cellaring, while cabernet sauvignon wines can benefit from up to 10 years of cellaring.

Color

Pinot noir wines are typically light to a medium red. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are generally medium to dark red.

Aroma

Pinot noir wines are typically known for their aromas of red and dark fruits, such as cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and plums. However, they can also have aromas of earthy compounds, such as mushrooms, truffles, and damp forest floors.

Cabernet Sauvignon wines are typically known for their aromas of black fruits, such as blackberries, blueberries, and cassis. However, they can also smell tobacco, leather, and cedar.

Climate

Pinot noir grapes thrive in cool climates, such as the Burgundy region of France. On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes thrive in warm to hot temperatures, such as in the Bordeaux region of France.

Soil

Pinot noir grapes prefer soil that is high in clay and limestone. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes prefer soil that is high in gravel and sand.

How does the type of soil affect the taste of the wines? The type of soil where the grapes are grown can significantly impact the taste of the wine. Soils high in clay tend to produce more full-bodied wines, while soils high in gravel and sand tend to have more light-bodied wines.

ABV

The alcohol content of pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon can vary depending on the region in which they are produced. In general, pinot noir wines tend to have lower alcohol levels than cabernet sauvignon wines.

Blending

Blending is the practice of mixing two or more wines. For example, Pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon are often blended to create what is known as a Bordeaux-style blend. This type of blend typically has black fruits, tobacco, and cedar flavors.

Some popular Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon blends:

-Château Mouton Rothschild (Bordeaux, France)

-Château Margaux (Bordeaux, France)

– Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (Burgundy, France)

-Screaming Eagle (Napa Valley, California, USA)

-Grange Hermitage (Australia)

As you can see, there are many differences between pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. But at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which wine you prefer. So, next time you’re at the store, pick up a bottle of each and find out for yourself!

Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon: Which One Should You Buy?

 

If you’re trying to decide between pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, it can be helpful to know what each wine is known for. Pinot noir is typically lighter in body and color and has aromas of red and dark fruits. Cabernet sauvignon is typically heavier in body and darker in color and has aromas of black fruits.

Ultimately, deciding which wine to buy depends on your personal preferences. Do you prefer a light, fruity wine? Or a heavier, more full-bodied wine? If you’re not sure, why not buy both and find out for yourself!

Top 5 Pinot Noir to try:

– Willamette Valley Vineyards pinot noir (Oregon, USA)

– Maison L’Envoyé pinot noir (Burgundy, France)

– Domaine Serene Pinot noir (Oregon, USA)

– Paul Hobbs Pinot noir (Russian River Valley, California, USA)

– La Crema pinot noir (Sonoma Coast, California, USA)

Top 5 Cabernet Sauvignon to try:

– Château Lafite Rothschild (Bordeaux, France)

– Screaming Eagle cabernet sauvignon (Napa Valley, California, USA)

– Henschke Hill of Grace cabernet sauvignon (Eden Valley, Australia)

– Shafer Hillside Select cabernet sauvignon (Napa Valley, California, USA)

– Penfolds Grange cabernet sauvignon (Australia)

A Guide To Understanding Wine Labels

When shopping for wine, you’ll notice that each bottle has a label. This label contains important information about the wine, such as the winery’s name, the vintage (year) of the wine, and the alcohol content.

Here’s a quick guide to understanding what all this information on a wine label means:

Winery Name: This is the company name that produced the wine.

Vintage: The vintage is the year that the grapes were harvested.

Alcohol content: The alcohol content tells you how much alcohol is in the wine. In general, red wines have higher alcohol levels than white wines.

Region: The region is where the grapes were grown. For example, a wine from the Napa Valley region of California will say “Napa Valley” on the label.

Grape variety: The grape variety is the grape type used to make the wine. For example, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon are two common grape varieties.

Conclusion

So, what’s the verdict: Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon? Is one wine better than the other for you? The answer is subjective; it depends on your palate and preferences. Some people may prefer the taste of a good pinot noir, while others might enjoy the boldness of a cabernet sauvignon more. However, both wines have their unique flavor profiles that wine enthusiasts can enjoy worldwide.

If you still have any questions about these two types of wine or want to learn more about them, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experts are knowledgeable about various vintages, and they would be happy to answer any questions you have about pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon (or any other wine).

However, if you are looking to purchase one of these wines and are unsure which to choose, we hope this article has armed you with knowledge so that when it comes time to select a bottle of red wine, you feel confident in your decision. We would be happy to help you out!

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Anthony Michelin

Anthony Michelin

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