Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon have something in common: They are two of the world’s most popular red wines. But what is the difference between them? In today’s blog, we take a deep dive into the history, characteristics, and food pairings of these two heavyweights of the wine world.
What Is Pinot Noir?
You know a certain type of wine is famous when it plays a prominent role in a Hollywood movie. In addition to being a plot device in the film Sideways, featuring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, Pinot Noir is a rich and full-bodied red wine appreciated around the world.
Pinot Noir originates from the Burgundy region of France, where it was first cultivated centuries ago. Pinot Noir grapes can’t withstand too much sun or heat, so these grapes need special care and attention when it comes to location. The result of all this attention to detail is a complex and flavorful wine that has established itself as a household name.
Whether you prefer an earthy French Pinot Noir or a balanced California version, Pinot Noir never fails to amaze.
Pinot Noirs made in other countries can vary significantly from those produced in France, usually being higher in alcohol and bolder in taste. Generally, Pinot Noirs are light-bodied wines with low tannin content and low-to-medium acidity levels which make them a great choice for red wine beginners or those looking for something light yet flavorful to pair with food.
What Is Cabernet Sauvignon?
Cabernet Sauvignon is a type of dark-skinned red wine grape. It is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world and is known for its full body flavor that produces a range of concentrated and powerful wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its intense aromas of cassis, ripe cherries, and blueberry. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are often blended with other grapes to enhance the complexity of the final product.
Cabernet Sauvignon wines are also known for their well-structured tannins, which allow them to age well in oak barrels, a process that often adds subtle flavors of vanilla and molasses.
Cabernet Sauvignon can be paired with beef dishes like ribeye steak or grilled ribs along with sharp cheeses like aged cheddar or parmesan.
The Difference Between Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon
As you can see, there are some important differences between Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. For one thing, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are notoriously easy to grow, while the opposite is true for Pinot Noir.
From the standpoint of the tasting experience, Pinot Noir tends to be light-bodied and soft in tannins, making it an ideal companion for foods such as salmon, tender meat, and goat cheese. By contrast, Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with high tannin content, characteristics that go well with the assertive flavors of red meat and aged cheeses.
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