Merlot vs Pinot noir - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Origin and history
The origin of wine dates back to 6000 BC in the Caucasus region. According to archeologists the oldest winery ever found was in Areni, Armenia. The Areni cave winery dates back to 6100 BC.
Wine is a fundamental part of human culture and social gatherings. At some point in history, wine was considered a divine drink. In old Greek mythology, Dionysus was the god of wine. Similarly, in later Roman mythology, Bacchus was the god of wine. Wine was a very important aspect of nobility and religion in those cultures that temples were built for these gods.
Difference in winemaking
Winemaking is a craft that takes years to master. Making and perfecting wine has a lot of variables and milestones that need to be perfected. The final product depends on different types of grapes, different types of yeast, the soil that the grape was planted on, and the barrels that the wine is aged in. It also depends if the grapes are peeled or unpeeled.
The wine is obtained after undergoing a fermentation process that has to be controlled.
This article will cover the difference between merlot wine and pinot noir, both are red wines.
Merlot wine is one of the most popular wines around the world. It is made from dark red grapes which are mostly grown in temperate climate regions, this grape gives a ruby red wine color. It can range from a sweet fruity taste to a rich oaky taste.
On the other hand, pinot noir is dark red and is made from dark red-blue grapes. These grapes grow in clusters tightly close together and are usually dark in color, thus their name in french is “pinot noir”.
Difference in flavor
Merlot wine is usually a dry wine. The concept of dry winemaking is that the sugar present in the product after pressing the grapes is fully fermented into alcohol by yeast. Sometimes, purposefully, during the winemaking process, a little bit of this sugar is kept to increase the fruitiness and flavor of the wine. However, this one is still considered a red dry wine.
Merlot wine is a fruity wine with hints of either raspberry, cherry, or strawberry.
Pinot noir, on the other hand, is a dry wine with either cherry, raspberry, or earthy flavors. Pinot noir is sometimes aged in French oak barrels which give it vanilla and oaky aftertaste.
Merlot and pinot noir are 2 completely different wines. Their difference starts from the first step of winemaking which is the grape.
The Merlot grape has more tannins, a fuller, and richer taste, and is darker in color. The grape merlot is classified as a full-bodied and flavored grape. Whereas Pinot noir has a lighter-bodied grape, the grapes are more delicate, they are grown and cultivated in cooler zones.
Merlot wine is the highest-produced wine in France.
Merlot is considered a lighter wine, if not the lightest wine, with fruity flavors. Compared to merlot, Pinot noir has a stronger taste with oakier flavors.
Not all wines are made for the same purpose and the same usage. Some wines are entré wines, some others are associated with main courses.
Merlot is considered a more fruity and lighter profiled wine compared to Pinot noir. Comparatively, merlot is a more versatile type of wine. Depending on the type of preparation merlot wine can range from a light-bodied wine to a complex and rich flavored wine.
Light-bodied merlot is usually associated with an entré, meat, a salad, and even can be associated with creamy pasta. As the complexity and flavors of the dish increase, the more complex merlot profiles can be associated with that food. Oaky vanilla-flavored merlot can be associated with pork, lamb, or beefsteak.
Pinot noir is a more complex and richer wine compared to merlot. This wine should not be associated with a strong and complex dish so that the complexity and flavors of the wine don’t get masked by that of the dish, or vice-versa. So the pinot noir is usually associated with earthy flavored dishes, a rosemary thyme steak or pork, a mushroom risotto, or a lamb lollipop with light earthy flavors.
Merlot and pinot noir can be used in cooking. Depending on the flavor profiling required a specific wine is usually considered. For a lighter profile, merlot is a better option. For a stronger profile, pinot noir can be considered.
Red wine can be used in marinades of beef, lamb, duck. It can also be used during pasta or other cooking preparations.
The alcohol% decreases from these dishes and it adds a whole new flavor profile to the dish.
In the US market, Merlot bottles usually range between 5$ and 20$. Although, higher quality merlots can also be found. The average price between them usually is around $10.
On the other hand, Pinot noir ranges from 5$ to 50$. The average price is around $20.
The price difference is due to the delicacy of the grapes and the methods of growing. The storage methods and barrels that are used to age and store the pinot noir affect its value and price.
Nutritional data comparison
The glycemic index of merlot is higher than that of pinot noir. It is 15, which is classified as a low glycemic index. Whereas, the glycemic index of pinot noir is 0.
Merlot and pinot noir have similar calories 83 calories for merlot and 82 calories for pinot noir.
Merlot and pinot noir have approximately the same amounts of carbs. Merlot has a little bit more carbs than pinot noir, however, that difference can be considered negligible. Merlot has 2.5g of carbs whereas pinot noir has 2.3g of carbs.
Merlot and pinot noir have negligible amounts of proteins.
Merlot and pinot noir have 0g of fats.
Merlot is richer in all minerals compared to pinot noir which has negligible amounts of minerals. Merlot is mostly richer in copper, zinc, phosphorus, iron, magnesium.
Merlot is richer in vitamin B6, B2, and B3 compared to pinot noir. Pinot noir has negligible amounts of vitamins.
Merlot and pinot noir have similar amounts of alcohol, ranging between 13-15%. However, some merlot that has a stronger profile can have a higher alcohol%.
This part of the article focuses on the health benefits and positive impacts that affect the human system when wine is consumed in moderation.
Wine is rich in antioxidants mostly resveratrol which has protective properties towards the cardiovascular system. (1)
Resveratrol lowers blood LDL levels and total triglycerides which in turn protects against cardiovascular health diseases mostly atherosclerosis. In addition to lowering LDL and triglycerides, resveratrol increases HDL levels in the blood. (2) (3)
Merlot is rich in antioxidants, mostly quercetin, catechin. All these belong to the family of polyphenols which have a potent effect in decreasing free radicals by scavenging effects.
On the other hand, the antioxidative compounds of pinot noir are anthocyanins which have a similar effect on free radicals.
Overall, the effect of the polyphenols of merlot and anthocyanins of pinot noir decreases the levels of free radicals and overall oxidative stress. In turn, decreasing systemic inflammation caused by stress. (4) (5)
Women who consume wine in moderation have had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to this, blood sugar levels were decreased. (6)
Gastro-intestinal health and cancer
Moderate consumption of red wine is associated with a decreased rate of gastric cancer development. (7)
In addition to the above, wine consumption reduces the risks of Barett’s esophagus. Which results after prolonged periods of acid reflux. It is important to note that increased alcohol consumption increases the risks of acid reflux. Thus, it is always too important to mention that moderate consumption of wine provides benefits. (8)
Resveratrol, the antioxidants present in red wine, is associated with decreased rates of developing pancreatic cancer. (9)
Consumption of large amounts of wine causes blackouts, dizziness, nausea. All the symptoms of being drunk. Thus it is important to always drink in moderation and with caution.
Constant alcohol consumption causes alcoholism which is alcohol addiction. In addition to that, long-term alcohol consumption, including merlot and pinot noir, can cause liver cirrhosis if the consumption is not controlled for a long period with excessive consumption.
Although wine has multiple benefits, if not consumed in moderation, all these benefits turn into negative effects which cause health problems.
Alcohol and medication
It is always recommended not to consume alcohol with any type of medicine. The mix of alcohol and medication can cause adverse effects from side effects like drowsiness and nausea. The activity of the medication might be increased or decreased. It also might cause liver damage due to the increased activity of the liver metabolizing the medication and metabolizing alcohol.
The most important medications that shouldn’t be associated with alcohol are antibiotics, psychiatric medication, and hypertension medications.
Diets and weight loss
Red wine consumption with a high fat and high carb meal showed lower insulin spikes in the blood and reduced absorption of fats and glucose. However, this doesn't mean that red wine causes weight loss.
For keto diets, wines like merlot and pinot noir can be consumed due to their low carb levels. Dry wines, in general, can be consumed in keto diets, whereas sweet or semi-sweet wines cannot be.
Merlot and Pinot noir can be consumed by vegans.
Merlot is a lighter and more versatile wine richer in copper, zinc, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, vitamins B6, B3, and B2. In addition to that, merlot is a cheaper wine. In comparison, pinot noir has a richer and oakier profile compared to merlot. It has a lower glycemic index.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Lower in Saturated Fat||Equal|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Fats diet||Equal|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|
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All nutrients comparison - raw data values