Key Differences Between Red Wines: Pinot Noir vs. Cabernet Sauvignon

We’ve been receiving many messages about our red wines, and more specifically, the difference between the red families. What makes a Cabernet Sauvignon different from a Pinot Noir is a recurring question that we want to answer for you today.

The reds we currently offer at 7Cellars are our 2018 Elway's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, our Farm Collection 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, and our Farm Collection 2019 Pinot Noir. Hopefully, this post will help identify the fundamental flavors found in each, and if you are eager to purchase some new wine with this newfound knowledge then head over to 7cellars.com!

The first key step to understand is vintages. A wine’s vintage, i.e. its year displayed on the bottle, tells you which year the grapes were picked and the wine was made. This is incredibly important because a wine’s vintage can have a significant impact on the overall taste of the wine. If the grapes were picked during a season filled with consistent downpour or drought, then the taste of the wine will vary greatly from a season filled with favorable sunny weather. A good vintage typically means the grapes were well-ripened and contain a healthy amount of tannins and acidity. Tannins are a group of bitter compounds that are used to protect a plant before ripe. Tannins can be favorable in winemaking due to the bitterness they provide, however, if mismanaged it can ruin a wine as well! Then, as these favorable wines age, they will mature and further develop in flavor and depth, making the wine more enjoyable to drink but also more valuable over time. You can also have non-vintage wine which is made by blending different years together, and these are often labeled as N.V.

Now that we understand vintages and the ageing of grapes, let’s head to a breakdown of Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is light, silky, dry, and medium-bodied. Wine body is defined by how rich and heavy a wine tastes on the palette. Recurring flavors found in Pinot Noir include cherry, strawberry, earth scents, spices, etc. The grapes used for Pinot Noir have thinner skins than those of other red wines, which results in a lighter-bodied wine. The sophisticated, thin, and delicate notes are what make a Pinot Noir stand out.

We made our Farm Collection Pinot Noir with these notions in mind, focusing on an elegant and refined wine that includes notes of bright cherry, ripe plum, cola, and dried herbs with a touch of vanilla and toasted oak on the finish. Our Pinot Noir has been referred to as bright, zesty, and fruity.

Cabernet Sauvignon, on the other hand, is bold and powerful offering more of a punch. It is firm and deep in color and includes woodsy flavors like cedar, oak, and herbs. The strong tannins set a Cabernet Sauvignon apart, and like we have learned, due to these tannins, Cabernet Sauvignon can often have a more bitter taste of all the reds. Cabernet Sauvignon improves with age and often hits peak drinkability after three or four years. With a full-bodied, high acidity, Cabernet Sauvignon offers that nice kick we often crave after a long day of work!

Our two Cabernet Sauvignon's differ in body type. Our Farm Collection Cab Sav is a medium to full-bodied option whereas our Elway's Reserve Cab Sav offers a heavier body. Our Farm Collection Cab Sav blends deep blue and black fruit notes, warm spice components, and anise flavors. With a smooth tannin integration, the wine ends with a velvety finish. Our Elway's Reserve Cab incorporates black fruit aromas such as blackberry and blackcurrant, with hints of brown sugar, toffee, licorice, and savory spices. This rich mélange beautifully integrated with new French oak creates a well-balanced finish. Our Cabernet Sauvignon's have often been referred to as tangy, lively, and charming.

If you are interested in learning even more about the chemical makeup of these different wines including Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, consider buying one of our virtual offerings where you will be paired with one of our Level 1 Court of Master Sommeliers or Level II Masters, who will create a customized experience for you and your group.

We hope this helped expand your knowledge of the different red wines and what sets them apart. If you are curious to learn about other specific wines, such as key features of chardonnay, feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments, and/or feedback.

Bottoms up!


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