What is the difference between Merlot and Pinot Noir?

Red wines are irresistible. We all love them after dinners and lunches. However, with the large number of red wines in the market, it can be quite hard to choose which one to settle for. Their descriptions are often not even the ideal way to differentiate them.

difference between merlot and pinot noir

So, which is the best red wine to have? Is it the merlot or the pinot noir? Well, in this piece, we seek to do away with the doubts you’ve had as concerning the pinot noir vs merlot. At the end of this article, you will be able to make an informed opinion on which wine of the two blends well with your occasions. Isn’t this what you’ve been looking forward to? Well, we’ve heard your cries and now we’ve got you covered. Read along.

Pinot Noir: What is pinot noir?

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir

Pinot noir can be traced back to the Gouais blanc grapes. Actually, it is the only known red grape of Burgundy. According to worldwide statics, pinot noir is the 10th widely grown grape. They are amongst the first grapes to be used in making wine as far back as the 1st century.

Initially it was only used by the Catholic in administering sacraments but later on the world’s population even non-Catholics began using it as it was the sweetest wine of the time. Pinot noir grows in clusters that are cone-shaped with the grapes skins being dark in color; hence, the name ‘black pine’ in some quarters.

Pinot noir grapes have very thin skins which makes them susceptible to diseases, fungi or rot. They do so well in dry and cool climates with stony soils which are well drained.

How does pinot noir taste?

Pinot noir has a strong flavor with medium to high acidic levels. However, it has plums, cherries and raspberries fruity taste. You will also realize that there is some taste of moist earth or tea leaves with the pinot noir.

The alcohol content of pinot noir is usually higher compared to most of the other wines. However, it is worth noting that the taste of this sweet wine can often be affected by season, vineyard and climate among others. Have you at times tasted a pinot noir wine that tasted a little different? Well, now you got the answers. So, is pinot noir sweet? Of course pinot noir has that dry sweet taste you have been longing for.

How can you serve pinot noir wine?

Pinot noir’s red berry characteristic makes it ideal for meaty foods which include salmon, chicken, pork and tuna among others. At the same time pinot noir wine blends so well with Asian dishes like Sashimi and Sushi.

What is merlot?


Merlot derives a lot from the French culture. The name itself loosely to Little Blackbird in French. Merlot is I fact the second most grown red grape in the United States. Its softness is usually the main reason every first wine drink wishes to have it.

DNA tests done on the merlot have showed that it was actually a cross-breed of Magdelene Noire and Cabernet Franc. Merlot grapes are blue in color with less sugar and acidity.

How does merlot taste?

Merlot has some mild taste of blueberries, blackberries and some herbal flavors. This makes it less acidic and tannin. It is smoother, deep in color and softer compared to the pinot noir. The duration that this wine stays in a store doesn’t in any way affect its taste.

Serving merlot wine

The merlot wine can be served with a wide variety of foodstuffs as compared to the pinot noir. This wine can be enjoyed with foods accompanied with hearty sauces that are creamy or tomato-based.

What is the difference between Merlot and Pinot Noir?

difference between merlot and pinot noir
difference between merlot and pinot noir

Even though there are a good number of similarities between merlot and pinot noir, there are also some differences between these two commonly used wines. So what are these differences?

Whereas pinot noir is slightly acidic, merlot grapes have low acidity levels. Besides, pinot noir is perfect for serving with subtle flavors like spicy foods unlike merlot which blends so well with earthy sauces and meat.

Another notable difference is on the type of climate they are grown. Pinot noir thrive well in cooler climates unlike merlot that grows even in the driest of places even in France. Additionally, pinot noir is earthy while merlot is soft and fruity.

Pinot noir is a little costly due to their being difficult to cultivate. However, blended merlots can be more expensive. These are just but a few of the outstanding differences between merlot and pinot noir.

Which is sweeter merlot or pinot noir?

There is no scientific answer to this question, as it is subjective. Some people might find pinot noir to be sweeter, while others might find merlot to be sweeter. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

What is wine cooler for pinot noir vs merlot?

You have probably heard this term ‘wine cooler’ more often if you are a wine enthusiast. Depending on where you stand, a wine cooler can have various meanings; from a wine bucket, beverage and even an appliance.

In America, a wine cooler is simply a beverage that is refreshing and often derived from fruit juice and wine. This beverage is often chilled and served together with ice especially in the summer. The wine coolers are made from low quality wine or even other alcoholic drinks.

In Britain, a wine cooler is simply a vessel, usually bucket-like, which has been filled with ice to cool some bottles of wine just before serving. In most cases you will hear it being referred to us a wine bucket for easier differentiation from a refrigerator.


As you have already read above, merlot and pinot noir share a lot in common. However, they also differ in equal measure. This has for a very long time made wine lovers spoilt for choices between the two. Both are ideal in their own ways.

So which one is the most ideal for you? Well, this question can only be answered by none other than you. And of course it still comes down to taste. Which one is tastier to you? Do you want to go with occasions? The choice is definitely yours to make. We hope you enjoyed the information you acquired from this article.

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