Exploring Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot – Popular Red Wine Varietal

By Ava Brown, June 8, 2015

What a better than a glass of red wine at the end of the day? A glass of the perfect red blend. All red wine lovers know the intense flavour, the rich texture and exceptional aroma of a of red wine blend such as the popular Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. A union of powerful and complex (Cabernet Sauvignon) and vibrant (Merlot). This red wine blend is often described as the perfect marriage between two compatible partners where one brings to light the best of the other. Among wine connoisseurs, this blend is also known as the “Bordeaux Blend” and it has proven to be exceptionally successful.


The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes provide the structure to the wine, as they bring the tannins and the acids. They also give the variety its flavours of bell peppers and black currant. Merlot on the other hand, is a soft and fleshy variety. It’s juicier and fatter, and that can easily be seen on the grapes themselves; the Merlot grape berries are plumper and have thinner skins, thus a lower skin to juice ratio. The Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot varieties have good affinity for oak, and are mainly barrel-aged. When aged with American oak, the wine gets notes of cedar, smoke and spice, and when French oak is used for the aging, the additional notes of vanilla and coconut can be sensed.

The Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot wines are mostly produced in France, since the Bordeaux region gives some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Also Italy, USA, Australia, Chile and Argentina praise themselves on the good blends they produce. In California, the blend is known as Meritage. Australia has several regions that produce the Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot variety among which Coonawaraa, Yarra Valley and Margaret River are the most popular ones.

Generally, the proportions of each variety used in the blend varies, as every producer in every region has its own style in making the blend. For that reason, you can find the Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot wines as austere and fruity, short or long- lived, and in all price ranges, varying from very cheap table wines to some of the most expensive varieties you’ll ever taste. Mainly labeled as heavy wines, both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are typically paired with food that is rich in fats, like barbecued red meat for example. This variety can also be paired with roast beef, shitake mushrooms and even some fish dishes.