Category Archives: Wine Comparison

Wine comparison: Semillon vs Pinot Gris

Both Semillon and Pinot Gris are fabulous white varieties, but totally different in looks, structure and flavour. Though both varieties were brought to Australia by James Busby in 1830s, but these have come a long way and now grown widely on this kangaroo land. Check out this quick wine comparison between Semillon and Pinot Gris starting from their origin to wineries doing their best in respective varieties.


Hope this wine comparison will help you discover the difference between Semillon and Pinot Gris wines. In fact, you should try both styles and let us know which one you liked the most and why? Shop at Just Wines for discount deals on Semillon wines and Pinot Gris wines.



Merlot vs Chardonnay-Know the Difference

When people ask about the different between Merlot and Chardonnay, the first thing which comes to mind is what are the common traits of these wines? It is well known that Merlot is a red wine whereas Chardonnay is a white wine, and this itself means a lot of difference. Both these grape varieties have originated from the same grapevine- vitis vinifera, but still are vastly different.


The first important distinction is of skin colour of the grapes. The Merlot is a purple red grape variety whereas Chardonnay is a golden or yellow grape variety.

Second, Merlot has a soft and silky texture. This texture is different from that of Chardonnay which is rich and lush when aged in oak and pure and crisp when aged in stainless steel.

Third, Merlot exhibits flavours depending on climatic conditions of the region. Cooler Merlot varieties have flavours of plum, strawberry and raspberry, whereas hotter climes have flavours of fruitcake and chocolate. However, Chardonnay exhibits flavours of fruits, such as citrus, stone and tropical.

Fourth, Merlot is a medium-bodied wine whereas Chardonnay is a medium to heavy bodied wine. A ‘body’ of wine refers to the weight of wine in mouth. Full or heavy bodied wines are big and powerful whereas the light bodied wines are more delicate in nature. Chardonnay can be heavy-bodied and this more weight is due to presence of more alcohol. Besides alcohol, wine contains non-volatile solids, such as tannins and glycerol, sugars and acids, and these also determine weight of the wine.

Merlot Vs Chardonnay differences are not clear. Wine lovers buy the wine in the wake of these differences and have practical experience of understanding or feeling the difference.

Merlot vs Malbec: How you can recognise them in blind tasting?

Merlot and Malbec are two red grape varieties widely used in making bold red wines and blends. Where Merlot wines has a successful history which dates back to 1784, Malbec has seen ups and downs since its first vine planted in 19th century. Though very different in genetics, both varieties come from vitis vinifera family and often confuse blind tasters with their almost similar aromas, texture and palate.


Let’s check out some amazing tips on how you can differentiate Merlot vs Malbec wines in a blind tasting.


Check out for the colour first. Though the grapes of both varieties fall in blue category and do not flaunt a red colour, but they produce red wines with hints of purple. Merlot flaunts a dark blue colour, whereas Malbec grape is purple in colour. When poured into a glass, a Merlot varietal wine shows ruby red colour, and a Malbec single varietal features inky dark colour.


Coming to the flavours! Merlot wines are soft and velvety in texture and usually have plum flavours, medium tannins and an elegant finish. It’s fruity and slightly sweet. On contrary, look for robust tannins, plumpy dark fruit flavours and signature smoky finish in Malbec wines. Malbec wines are typically made medium to full-bodied hence can be a great alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

You might have noticed that we’ve not mentioned aromas in this section to determine Malbec and Merlot wines. This is because, both Merlot and Malbec wines may tend to have different aromas depending upon where their fruit are grown. For example, a Merlot grown in warmer region will have different aromas when compared to Merlot grown in cooler climates. You will usually find aromas of black cherry, berries, plum, chocolate, and some herbs in Merlot wines. Similar is the case with Malbec. Cool climate Malbecs will have red fruit flavours like black cherry and raspberry, whereas warm climate Malbecs will have black fruit flavours such as plum and blackberry.

As you can see, both wines have almost similar aromatics, this is why it is difficult to differentiate these wines with just sniffing. With the brilliant tricks mentioned above you can get expertise in differentiating Merlot vs Malbec wines, but for that you need to drink them. Try them buying on discounts by subscribing to Trophy Club or taking VIP membership plan by Just Wines.

Shiraz vs Pinotage

One is hero of Australia and other plays well in South Africa. Though same in colour, these two grape varieties have different characteristics. So let’s check out all of them one by one in Shiraz vs Pinotage.


Shiraz is a dark-skinned, black grape producing red wines and the signature variety of Australia. Wine produced from this grape is called Shiraz in Australia and South Africa and Syrah in other parts of the world.

A red wine grape, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature red variety which produces deep red varietal wines. It’s a high-yielding variety.

Shiraz, on other hand, is at least 4 centuries-old variety (as documented) having its roots coming from France’s Rhone Valley. It was brought to Australia by James Busby – who’s known to be the father of Australian wine.

Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut which was bred in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold. He was the first Professor of Viticulture in South Africa’s oldest university Stellenbosch.

Tasting Notes
Shiraz grapes produce medium to full-bodied, dark red coloured wines. When aged on oak, Shiraz wines gain complexity on aromas, medium+ to high levels of tannins, and medium+ acid. Depending on the region where these grapes are grown, tasting notes may include flavours of blackberry, blueberry, black pepper, eucalyptus, licorice, coffee, chocolate, leather, and herbaceous earth.

Pinotage wines have smoky, bramble and earthy characters, and may also have notes of bananas and tropical fruit. Pinotage is often blended with Shiraz and other varieties. This variety also makes good fortified wines and red sparkling wines.

Wine Regions
Shiraz is mainly planted in Australia, South Africa, the United States, Canada, and some other countries. Despite being genetically identical, the Shiraz grape from Australia tastes and looks different compared to its European siblings (Syrah), especially when grown in warm climates.

Apart from South Africa, Pinotage is also grown in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Zimbabwe and Brazil, with recent varietal experiments being done in Germany as well.

Food Pairing
Shiraz wines are good to go with grilled or roast beef, big beefy stews, roast or grilled lamb, and strong hard cheeses especially cheddar.

Pinotage wines pair well with Chicken Bobotie, Biryani, Cape Malay Fish Curry, Braai, Boerewors, Curry Potjie, Beef Shin, tomato & olive stew.

How Shiraz, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Stack Up Against One Another

For the uninitiated, navigating the wide world of wines can be extremely difficult. There is so much to learn and know about wine, that it can get brain-numbing pretty quickly.


Let’s start off easy with the following 3 wine styles –

  • Shiraz

Shiraz is usually regarded as the ‘king’ of red wine grapes, is arguably the most popular grape variety around the world.

Shiraz varietals are generally full-bodied, bold, complex and intense. These strong wines are filled with tannins, making them hearty and powerful drinks to consume.

These wines match very well with red meats, hearty stews and wild game meats.

Shiraz wines are planted abundantly across Australia, California and the popular Rhone Valley of France.

  • Chardonnay

Amongst white wines, Chardonnay is probably the most popular grape variety.

Usually, Chardonnay wine varietals feature citrus, apple, pear and peach flavours, with an assortment of characters like vanilla, honeysuckle, lemon zest, almond and coconut.

These delicious flavours go well along with dishes like oysters, chicken breast, peas, goat cheese and mushrooms.

Chardonnay plantings can be found in California, France, New Zealand & Australia.

  • Pinot Noir

Pinot is earthy, has a lighter colour, and exhibits low to medium tannin density.

A flexible and easy drinking red variety, it features mushroom, cut hay and leather nuances dominated by fruity flavours of raspberries & rhubarb.

Fatty fish, pasta, meaty stews and casseroles are suggested food pairings with Pinot wines.

Pinot Noir can be found in abundance in Australia, Canada, UK and France.

Now that you’ve learnt a bit about all 3 of these wine types – you have to look deep within & figure out what kind of tastes do you have. Only then would you be able to judge which of these wines would work the best for you – Shiraz vs Chardonnay vs Pinot Noir.

If you cannot decide, just rush to your nearest wine store & pick up a bottle of each of these 3 varieties. Invite a couple of friends over, bring out a bunch of new wine glasses, prepare 1 or 2 meat dishes, and voila, you are all set for a wine tasting session. Cheers!

Shiraz vs Merlot vs Chardonnay: How the Three Compare with Each Other

Are you a newbie to the world of wines? Just as a heads up, you will hear words like ‘palate’, ‘cellaring’ & ‘vintage’ a lot. You will also have to struggle to understand what it all means. But don’t you worry, we’ll help you start simple. To begin, just know that there are 2 kinds of wines – red and white.

Shiraz vs Merlot vs Chardonnay

To start you off easy, we recommend you the following 3 wine types –


  • Shiraz can easily be considered the ‘king’ of red wine grapes, and is arguably the most popular red grape variety across the world.
  • Shiraz wines are generally full-bodied, robust, complex and dense. This powerful variety is filled with tannins, and is an intense and hearty wine to consume.
  • It pairs exceptionally well with red meats, steaks, thick stews and wild game.
  • Shiraz grapevines are planted abundantly in California, Australia, and the Rhone Valley in France.


  • Merlot is a soft & fleshy type of grape. It is used to create mild and juicy red wines showing the purity of fruit. For a beginner, Merlot is a really nice choice.
  • The delicate, fruity flavours of plums, currants and berries take your mouth on a pleasing journey, which can be enhanced by pairing it with foods of all kinds.
  • Softer Merlots match well with mushrooms, salmon and green veggies. Light-bodied Merlot wines tend to go well with bacon, prawns and scallops.
  • DO NOT drink a Merlot with strong or blue cheeses since they can overwhelm the fruity & joyous flavours of this wine style.
  • Merlot vines excel in various regions like California, Chile, Australia, Italy and the Bordeaux district in France.


  • To most people, Chardonnay is the only white wine name they know & can pronounce correctly.
  • Chardonnays mainly feature citrus, pear, apple and peach flavours, with a variety of added elements like vanilla, lemon zest, honeysuckle, coconut and almond.
  • These flavours pair elegantly with cuisines like chicken breast, oysters, goat cheese, peas and mushrooms.
  • Chardonnay is planted extensively in France, California, Australia and New Zealand.

Now that you know a little know a bit about all 3 wine types, you have to decide which one you want to try first – Shiraz vs Merlot vs Chardonnay. If you don’t like it at first, don’t you worry. It takes time getting used to the taste of any wine. Also, not every wine suits every tongue, so move on to another variety if one seems “unlikable”.

Single Varietal Wine Tutorial: Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon vs Shiraz

Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz – all three of them are very popular wine varieties of Australia. All of them also happen to be Red. When poured into glasses, the single varietals of these wines look very similar.

Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon vs Shiraz

So how can you identify them in a blind tasting? This wine tutorial will help you gain some basic knowledge when you are stuck and can’t proceed with Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon vs Shiraz.


Arrange the glasses in a row and observe the colour. The one with the lightest colour intensity will be Pinot Noir. This is the simplest way to differentiate Pinot Noir from Cabernet and Shiraz. Moving forward, Cab Sauv and Shiraz wines are medium to full-bodied wines and look very similar in terms of appearance. So, for further identification, swirl the two glasses (except the one identified as Pinot Noir). The one with purple tints will be Shiraz and the one with crimson hues would be Cabernet Sauvignon. Move to aromas, if not able to differentiate between Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.


Sniff the glasses carefully one by one. Observe the aromas. Pinot Noir releases fruity aromas of strawberries, raspberries and red cherries. Then move to Cabernet Sauvignon and notice the difference between the intensity. Cabernet has notes of black fruits instead of red. The Cab Sauv wine will have notes of blackcurrants, dark plums and black cherries. Shiraz, on another hand, can be easily identified for its peppery aromas infused with fragrances of berries, currants and even chocolate. If confused, taste the wine and give your final verdict after identifying the flavours of Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Shiraz.


Make sure all the three wines are dry and not sweet. Taste the Pinot Noir first for perfect comparison. Assess each wine carefully on its body, tannin, acidity, alcohol level, flavour intensity, and length. The one with the lightest body is Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir would be more acidic in comparison to Cab Sauv and Shiraz. Shiraz will have high alcohol level than Cab Sauv.

This way, you can easily give your verdict on blind tasting Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon vs Shiraz. Do share if this wine tutorial helped you or not in the comments section below.