Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, two different personalities with common region.

But do you know what makes each of them unique and different?  Why you might prefer one to the other?

Sure both of them are great with food, especially with meat, but each has its own set of characteristics. These differences actually make the wines perfect for blending together, in a really delicious way.

Both Merlot and Cabernet were born in Bordeaux, France and they quickly came to dominate the famous wine region, though depending on what side of the Gironde river you live on.

Red Wine Bottle Glass artAnd how it all started?

People on the left bank of the river felt their land was better suited for growing Cabernet, so it became the dominant grape in their crop.

The vintners living on the right bank felt their land was better suited for Merlot, so that’s the grape they grew more of, the “right bank” Bordeaux.

There are reasons to love both Merlot and Cabernet, the most popular red wines

Merlot, also known as “the little blackbird,” is the more soft and supple of the two grapes. It’s often described as juicy with flavors of chocolate and cherry. Also it is considered more of a “easy drinking” wine and it’s soft fruit flavors give a great taste at a much younger age.

Cabernet Sauvignon on the other hand is the older and more aggressive sibling. The grape is much more tannic, meaning it will give your mouth that drying sensation. It’s often said to have a strong “backbone” which is just another way of saying it’s hearty and powerful, capable of standing up to rich dishes.

Cabernet is a grape that is extremely age-worthy. Winemakers often say that wines made using the grape need more time to age in the bottle before being opened. When it is young the wine’s tannins can be very aggressive.

One way to soften the flavors, if the tannins are too strong, is by decanting the wine for about thirty minutes. In this way we are letting oxygen mellow everything out.

No one grape is better than the other. They are just different but the most famous red wines. Both grapes are unique, absolutely delicious, and extremely popular.