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Merlot vs Burgundy: What’s the Difference?

Are you confused about whether to choose Merlot or Burgundy when selecting a bottle of wine?

If the two sound similar, it’s understandable – after all they are both red wines and popular among many.

Yet if you look closer, you’ll discover that there are some key differences between these two varieties of grapes.

In this blog post, we will delve into these differences and explore the unique characteristics that set them apart so that next time you pour yourself (or your friends) a glass of either one, you can do so with confidence.

What is Merlot?

Merlot is a dark grape variety that produces one of the most popular red wines in the world.

It was first documented in the Bordeaux region of France in the 18th century and has since become a household name among wine connoisseurs.

The wine is generally medium to full-bodied, with a deep, rich color and flavors of black cherry, plum, and chocolate.

The tannins in Merlot are usually softer than those in other red wines, making it an easy-drinking option for those who are new to wine.

It is usually aged in oak barrels to enhance its complexity and structure.

Despite being overshadowed by its popular cousin Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot has carved out a unique place for itself in the world of wine, with its complex flavors and wide versatility.

What is Burgundy Wine?

Burgundy wine is renowned for its rich history and subtle complexities.

Grapes such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are used to craft this cherished beverage, known for its elegance and unique terroir-driven characteristics.

The region of Burgundy in France has centuries of winemaking expertise.

The diverse soils, from limestone to clay, give the grapes distinct qualities that present a range of flavors and styles.

The Burgundy classification system is based on vineyard quality.

It divides the wines into four tiers – regional, village, premier cru, and grand cru.

This helps consumers find wines that suit their preferences.

Burgundy winemakers prioritize tradition and craftsmanship.

The grapes are handpicked and minimal intervention is used during fermentation to preserve the essence of the terroir.

This philosophy is evident in every bottle of Burgundy wine, providing an unforgettable sensory journey.

Differences Between Merlot and Burgundy

Merlot and Burgundy: two red wines, two distinct differences.

Grape Variety and Origin

Merlot and Burgundy are two unique wines.

Merlot, from Bordeaux, France, is known for its velvet feel and strong flavor.

Burgundy, from the Burgundy region in eastern France, is known for its aromatic and complex taste.

These wines are different in grape variety and display distinct features based on their terroir.

Merlot has fruity, soft tannin flavors.

Burgundy has earthy undertones and higher acidity.

Exploring the differences between these wines can be a fun journey for wine lovers.

They can discover diverse tastes and origins.

Flavor Profile and Aromas

Merlot and Burgundy – two sophisticated wines with unique flavors and fragrances.

Merlot has ripe plums, cherries, and raspberries, plus hints of herbs and spices.

Its velvety texture adds appeal.

Burgundy is complex, with blackberry and cranberry notes, earthy undertones, and a hint of oak.

Similar aromas both wines have.

Merlot’s bouquet is of ripe fruit and gentle herbs.

Burgundy is a blend of fruity, earthy, and oaky scents.

Merlot’s texture and fruits entice, while Burgundy’s complexity and flavors allure.

Choose what you like best, they are both wonderful.

Production Methods

Production methods make merlot and burgundy wines unique.

Merlot grapes are grown in a wider range of climates.

This allows for more flexibility in production.

Merlot is often aged in oak barrels, which gives it a bolder flavor.

Burgundy has strict regulations on grape cultivation and aging processes.

This creates a delicate, nuanced wine that reflects the terroir of the region.

Knowing the different production methods helps us understand the distinct characteristics of merlot and burgundy wines.

Aging and Maturation

The aging and maturation of Merlot and Burgundy wines is key for their flavor.

As they mature, they go through chemical reactions which improve their taste, smell, and texture.

Merlot wines grow more complex in flavor.

They often give off black cherry, plum, and chocolate.

Burgundy wines present red fruit, like strawberry and raspberry, with earthy undertones.

Maturation affects the texture of these wines too.

Merlot softens and smoothers, due to tannin breakdown.

This creates a velvet feeling for wine lovers.

Burgundy, in contrast, gets structure and depth with firmer tannins, resulting in a more robust mouthfeel.

Plus, aging impacts the aromas of these wines.

Merlot develops full-bodied aromas, such as cedar and vanilla.

Burgundy wines acquire more delicate aromas with time, like violets and spice.

Similarities Between Merlot and Burgundy

Merlot and Burgundy share some amazing similarities.

Both come from France and are made from red grapes.

They have flavors of black fruit, cherry, and spice.

Plus, they both go great with food.

Though, if we look closer, there are some differences.

Merlot has softer tannins than Burgundy.

This gives each wine its own character.

So, if you like the class of Burgundy or the friendliness of Merlot, you won’t be disappointed.

Food Pairing with Merlot and Burgundy Wines

Merlot and Burgundy wines – distinct, but each with their own food pairings.

Merlot’s fruity notes? Perfect with red meat or pasta dishes.

Burgundy? Poultry or mushroom-based dishes.

Its lighter body and earthy undertones create a harmonious combo.

Unique pairings to elevate your dining experience.


From the subtle variations in location, grapes used, and taste to the overall production process and final product characteristics, we can see that Merlot and Burgundy wine are two distinctly different types of wine.

While Merlot is easy to drink, thanks to its soft tannins and low-medium acidity, Burgundy has a denser structure with higher levels of alcohol and concentrated berry flavors balanced by a bright acidity.

Ultimately each offers something special for wine lovers everywhere and it’s worth exploring both styles at least once.

Although these two wines may share geographic borders and some grape varietals, their complexity defies comparison; as flavorful as Merlot can be, it never matches the sheer magnificence of one sip of a truly remarkable Burgundy that speaks volumes of suspenseful nuances found nowhere else in the wine world.

As always, if too difficult to decide between either kinds of wine, why not just try them both?

Merlot vs Burgundy: What’s the Difference?

Explore the nuances between Merlot and Burgundy with our concise guide. Delve into the key distinctions to understand the subtle differences between these two renowned wine varieties.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That


  • Merlot
  • Burgundy


  • Choose between Merlot and Burgundy based on your taste and occasion.
  • Enjoy Merlot for its soft, fruity, and versatile character.
  • Opt for Burgundy for a more complex, earthy, and refined experience.
  • Pair each wine with dishes that complement its unique flavor profile.
  • Explore and savor the distinct qualities of Merlot and Burgundy wines in your culinary adventures.
Keyword Merlot vs Burgundy
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