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When you want to order wine online, we can guess your struggle to choose the one that is right for you. The difference between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon might be hard to see right away. These two types of wine have a lot in common with impressive flavor profiles and are often seen as almost identical. 

Both grapes come with their distinctive qualities, and we want to help you find the one that works best for you. Whether you're looking for an affordable option or something to splurge on, you'll be able to buy the best red wine in California to impress your dinner guests after reading our article. Here are the key distinctions between them.


Growing Region

The origins of both of the red grape varieties can be traced back to the 15th century in the Bordeaux region of France. However, they thrive in different areas within Bordeaux. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes thrive when planted in gravel-based soil, such as that found in the Médoc region along with the Left Bank. This type of soil is well-drained, providing the ideal conditions that this variety of grapevine needs.

Merlot tends to thrive best in soils on the right bank of Bordeaux, in the Gironde estuary. These soils are typically made up of clay and limestone, both of which tend to be on the cooler side and tend to preserve succulent aromas when the weather is less than favorable for growth.

Both grapes are now widely consumed in a variety of countries and regions. Merlot is widely grown in France's Bordeaux region, as well as in many other places across the world, including Napa Valley, Chile, and Australia to mention a few. Don't forget about Cabernet sauvignon, which can be found in places like Tuscany, Australia, and the USA. 


Tasting Notes 

When comparing the two types of wines - Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - it's important to look at their tasting notes and structure.

Both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are full-bodied, dry red wines with berry flavors. They both have a similar acidic flavor, making them excellent choices for pairing with meat dishes at your next family gathering! However, even though they look similar, the biggest difference them Sauvignon is the levels of tannins and acidity. 

In terms of tannins and acidity, Merlot is often in the center of the range. Cabernet has higher acidity and tannin levels than most other wines, giving it a harsher flavor.

Merlot wines come in a variety of styles based on the growing region, however, we may categorize them into two groups: Bordeaux-style wine Merlot wines have a modest brick hue around the edges and a chocolate flavor that distinguishes them from cabernet sauvignon. However, in the new world, such as Washington State Merlot wines, they are more tannic, full-bodied, dark purple, and have aromas of blackberry, raspberry, plum, cassis, and mocha.

From its thick-skinned small dark berries, Cabernet sauvignon creates tannic, dark-colored, full-bodied wines with mild acidity. The scent profile of this grape is robust, with blackberries, cigar box, fig, wood, and delicate violet fragrances. They could develop tertiary aromas as well. While it may produce some green smells in cooler climates, rich jam fruit notes dominate in warmer climates; for example, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Wines may have more ripe fruit flavors and higher alcohol levels than Bordeaux Wines.

Food Pairing

If you're looking for a red wine that pairs well with meat, then both options are a perfect choice. Merlot has a strong finish and silky finish down to the tip of your tongue, while Cabernet Sauvignon is sharp with a lingering flavor. But Merlot certainly wins if it comes to drinking alone! The acidity in this wine complements its bold flavor perfectly.

Cabernet Sauvignon’s has a rich flavor so it should be paired with heavier meals such as steak, duck, wild pheasant, buffalo, and other dishes high in protein.

Merlot, too, goes well with a variety of foods, but it's especially good with beef and lamb, as well as Italian meals and roasted chicken. Strong-flavored foods, such as heavily sauced dishes, should be avoided since they will dominate the not-so-strong flavors.

After you've decided on a side in the Cabernet Sauvignon vs. Merlot debate, it's time to order red wine online or visit a California wine store.

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