A common inquiry among even the most seasoned wine drinkers: What is the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot? It’s an understandable question- the two are incredibly similar, and even occasionally blended together. While the two wines have a strong presence on their own, they complement each other well. Both the Cab Sauv and Merlot also come from the Bordeaux region of France, albeit from different grapes. However, Cabernet’s grape typically ripens later in the year than Merlot’s.
While the underlying tones vary from bottle to bottle, Cabernet is generally more tannic than Merlot. It’s taste has been described as robust, full-bodied, and even punishing. Cabernet Sauvignon is well known for being darker, with fruity hints of blackberry, black cherry, and dark currant. It also has been known to feature undertones of vanilla.
Merlot is consistently described as a “softer” wine. It usually has more prominent red fruit flavors such as cherry, raspberry, and currant. Chocolate is another frequently flavor found in Merlot. This attributes to its lighter color, and reputation as more of a “starter” wine. However, any wine expert knows that it’s not unheard of to have a lighter Cab and darker Merlot.
Regardless of their differences, both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have a place in our hearts. If you’re still not sure which of the two is more your taste stop in for a bottle of each today!