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Merlot vs Cabernet vs Chianti


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#1 Mafialife Chris

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 04:30 AM

I can always be in the mood for a good Chianti, but i need to be in the right mood for a cabernet or merlot.

Just curious what everyones taste is like. Which one do you prefer?

BTW, first day on the board, and I am really digging the community. Good job

#2 Macion Grey

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 07:45 PM

Grenache wine, done right, kicks all of their asses when it comes to a smooth, complex experience. If I had to choose between the rest, I would place Merlot at the back of the pack. Merlot tastes flat to often for me, while I do appreciate a good Chianti.


Strange question.

#3 MadMonk

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 08:01 PM

I'm not a big drinker. My body just doesn't like alcohol. If I do drink wine, I prefer fruity German wines.
I grew up around Chianti, Burgundy, and something I believe was called Barberone. My Grandfather, an Italian immigrant, made delicious wine, and that wine I enjoyed. He blended grapes, and make a fruity, blushy sort of concoction that was delicious. The only thing I've ever had that I enjoyed as much were 1976 German wines.

Cabernet, to me, takes an educated palate. I typically don't like it. But, there is one, J. Lohr 7 Oaks Paso Robles, which I really love. It ages beautifully, mellowing, and becomes smooth as silk. A buttery finish which I've rarely experienced.

Chianti, well, I don't like it.

Merlot, to me, is like RC Cola. If you remember the old advertising campaign, it's "not too". Not too dry, not too sweet, not too flavorful.

Edited by MadMonk, 13 September 2008 - 08:02 PM.


#4 CoventryCat86

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:54 PM

Grenache wine, done right, kicks all of their asses when it comes to a smooth, complex experience. If I had to choose between the rest, I would place Merlot at the back of the pack. Merlot tastes flat to often for me, while I do appreciate a good Chianti.


Strange question.


Excellent take Macion Grey! :thumbs:

I don't like most merlots. Of the three on your list, I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon and I also like Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc grape is the "grandfather" of Cabernet Sauvignon and drier. It's grown by many of the vineyards in the northeast (since it's just about impossible to grow Cabernet Sauvignon here and by "here" I mean New England, not Nova Scotia :laugh: ) and it's also used in most French Bordeauxs.

French Bordeauxs are usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot (any of you wine experts please feel free to correct me :D ). Bordeauxs range in price from affordable to ridiculous, I don't buy the $800.00+ bottles. Heck, I've never spent three figures on any Bordeaux in my life as I don't know enough about wine to appreciate those even though many experts say they are well worth it.

#5 Greggj77

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 03:58 PM

In the past I was a big Red Zin guy then big rich Cabs now I find myself being drawn towards the Meritage's.

When done right the blends really bring out the best in young wines. If you get a chance grab a bottle of Sienna from Ferrari Cerano or if you have a little more $ something like Parradux from Duckhorn or Oracle from Miner. Both are Fantastic.

Anybody else drinking Meritage's out there? If so I would be interested in hearing your favorites.

#6 NorCalCigarLover

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 10:12 AM

Good grief, just like my humidor I have a little bit of everything in my wine cellar. But my Pinot Noir selection is definately on the heavier side.

:cool:

#7 Not A Nice Person

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 06:06 PM

I love me a nice Chianti---gutsier than Merlot, not as chewy, dense, and complex as a Cabernet. Or as "high toned!"

Good years, Kendall Jackson does a Cabernet that's just stellar with a big ol' ribeye steak, though. But I find wending my way through all the years, and vineyards, and such with Cabs a bit intimidating . . . with Chianti, the ubiquitous one in the straw-wrapped fiasco is actually quite good, and venturing off into the small Italian vineyards is generally even more rewarding.

~Boar

#8 vange

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 04:33 PM

This really depends for me. I have had some really light, bland tasting chiantis in my experience. Now if you told me its from a reputable producer and its a Brunello di Montalcino (made from same grapes), thats a different story although not a chianti then.

Merlot gets a bad rap, but its the primary grape used in Bordeaux and many of the 05 Bordeaux are killer. The $6k Petrus is all merlot if I am not mistaken.

To stick to the point I'd go Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, then Chianti. Lately I have been really into wines made from tannat, mourvedre, and sagrantino grapes.

#9 SPIVY

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 05:22 PM

I am a big fan of Napa Cabs and the Cab Blends.

#10 Dios de Fuego

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 11:48 PM

Chianti is always great, but i have to me in the mood for something drier, however cab is always good. Not my favorite wine, but always good(assuming a good brand is presented).

#11 sned45

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:37 AM

I prefer Cabs but I do enjoy Vincent Arroyo's Petite Sirah and their Entrada (Syrah blend).

#12 vange

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 12:22 PM

Petite Sirah


I do also love me some petite sirah. I lvoe how big they taste and are priced well for their quality.

#13 SewerRanger

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:45 PM

The big bold Syrahs are my favorites (spacifically from the Rhone region). If I had to choose between the three listed the Chianti would win it. I've never had a merlot that I really liked. They tend to be on the blander side. A Cab is okay but generally not bold enough for me. As far as whites go, I tend to just skip them unless it's a nice oakie California Chardonnay. I did find a really dry California Riesling that I fell in love with though. It's called Pacific Rim Riesling. It's got a jasmine and apple flavor too it. Nothing pronounced but good none the less.

Edited by SewerRanger, 20 January 2009 - 01:46 PM.


#14 caf034

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 02:16 PM

Grenache wine, done right, kicks all of their asses when it comes to a smooth, complex experience. If I had to choose between the rest, I would place Merlot at the back of the pack. Merlot tastes flat to often for me, while I do appreciate a good Chianti.


Strange question.


Excellent take Macion Grey! :thumbs:

I don't like most merlots. Of the three on your list, I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon and I also like Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc grape is the "grandfather" of Cabernet Sauvignon and drier. It's grown by many of the vineyards in the northeast (since it's just about impossible to grow Cabernet Sauvignon here and by "here" I mean New England, not Nova Scotia :laugh: ) and it's also used in most French Bordeauxs.

French Bordeauxs are usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot (any of you wine experts please feel free to correct me :D ). Bordeauxs range in price from affordable to ridiculous, I don't buy the $800.00+ bottles. Heck, I've never spent three figures on any Bordeaux in my life as I don't know enough about wine to appreciate those even though many experts say they are well worth it.


i don't believe cab franc is generally used in the blending of Bordeaux wines, but it is most regularly used out West. you find a lot of santa barbara county all the way north wines using cab franc. i find it has less complexity that cab sauv but do agree with the dryness factor. then again, there are some bone dry bordeaux out there.

as regards the topic, i do like chianti as a standard foolproof table wine, but if you want the sophistication toned up a bit i would go with a 100% sangiovese. you'll find a lot more character in the wine and less of the "flat" flavor profiles and watery texture i find with some chiantis. on the other hand, i do love cabs but i agree that they're for a more educated palate, and merlots slide to the bottom of the list, even flatter that most table blends. Syrah/grenache wines are always fantastic in my opinion (though i'm not a big fan of australians). Malbecs are great, and so are Cabs and Carmeneres out of Chile.

#15 FunkyCold5

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 02:34 PM

I'm a huge fan of Cab Sav from the Napa region.

Recently, I've been in a Bourdeaux kick. I prefer more a Cab blend than Merlot (east bank). GF prefers more of the Merlot blend (west bank). I hope I got my banks correct.

If you are a big fan of Chianti, try Sangiovese. It's another popular Italian wine and great value, too.

#16 Ludwig

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:00 PM

I'm a huge fan of Cab Sav from the Napa region.

Recently, I've been in a Bourdeaux kick. I prefer more a Cab blend than Merlot (east bank). GF prefers more of the Merlot blend (west bank). I hope I got my banks correct.

If you are a big fan of Chianti, try Sangiovese. It's another popular Italian wine and great value, too.


Sangiovese is a type of grape commonly found in the Tuscany region of Italy. Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano,....etc are often made out of Sangiovese grapes

#17 vange

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 04:35 PM

From what I know red Bordeaux wine can only be a blend of cab, merlot, cab franc, malbec, and/or petite verdot. Mostly its the first three. In the past carmenere was in there, but that was long ago and no longer used in Bordeaux. Try Chile for some nice carmenere wines.




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