Merlot vs Cabernet Sauvignon vs Pinot Noir

Characteristics Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Pinot Noir
Hue Deep ruby red Deep ruby red Pale to medium ruby red
Color Red Red Red
Aromas Plum, red berries, chocolate Blackcurrant, mint, cedar Red berries, floral, earth
Tannins Soft to moderate Firm Soft
Acid Low to medium Medium to high Medium
Alcohol (%) 13-14.5% 13.5-15% 12-15%
Body Medium Full Light to medium
Intensity Moderate Pronounced Subtle
Key Growing Regions Bordeaux, France, California Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Australia Burgundy, Oregon, New Zealand
Classic Pairings Pasta, chicken, soft cheeses Steak, lamb, strong cheeses Salmon, pork, mushrooms
Price Range $10-$40 $20-$100 $20-$80

If you’re looking for a side-by-side comparison of Merlot, Cabernet, and Pinot Noir, then check out this list.

Is Merlot or Cabernet Closer to Pinot Noir?

Merlot is closer to Pinot Noir than Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot has smoother tannins and red berries, along with medium acid and a medium body, similar to Pinot Noir.

Merlot and Cabernet grow in similar regions, which is why you often see them in blends together. Their flavors and structures are complementary.

Pinot Noir enjoys cooler growing regions and is rarely used in wine blends, making it different from both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Which Will Age Longer: Merlot, Cabernet, or Pinot Noir?

Generally speaking, Cabernet Sauvignon will have the ability to age longer than either Merlot or Pinot. This is because it has more tannins and higher alcohol than Merlot and Pinot. Both of these act as preservatives in wine. However, each wine is unique and it depends on the vintage and winemaking techniques.

Most wines that we buy are made to enjoy immediately or within a few years of when we purchase them. Let pricepoint be your guide and always ask a store clerk for recommendations if you want to purchase a wine that you can cellar for an extended period of time.

organized bottles on shelf - merlot vs cabernet sauvignon vs pinot noir wine

Thirsty for More?

Here’s an in-depth post on the differences between Pinot Noir and Merlot, and Malbec vs Pinot Noir, Merlot vs Grenache, and Merlot vs Pinot Grigio.

And check out which is better: Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Discover: Pinot Noir Cheese Pairing Guide

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