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What’s the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot?

Question from Steve: Am I the only one that finds it hard to tell the difference between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon? How do I tell them apart?  
 
Reply: Hi, Steve. I think it’s confusing for a lot of people and I salute you for being the one with the courage to ask the question. BTW, what is it about wine that makes everyone feel like there’s something wrong with them if they don’t know everything about wine? A <a href=" http://www.mastersofwine.org/” target=”_blank”>Master of Wine once said something that really rings true: “No on can master wine. There’s too much to know.” So, no need to feel insecure, right?

The truth is that Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon make wines that taste quite similar, as most winemakers will tell you. Both varieties come from the Bordeaux region of France, where they’re traditionally blended together.

In fact, Merlot is the most widely planted variety in Bordeaux which is probably because it ripens early than Cabernet Sauvignon. If the late-ripening Cabernet gets rained out, early-ripening Merlot can save the vintage. Continue reading

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