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Is Cabernet Sauvignon Dry?

Red wine being poured into glass.
Photo by: Superanry | Dreamstime

Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry, red wine. Some Cabernet can taste drier than others. This is because of where it is grown and how it is produced.

Grape Sugar Converts to Alcohol

The term “dry” in wine lingo means there is no residual sugar in the wine. While the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes start out with sugar, during fermentation the yeast eats the sugars turning it into alcohol. At the end of the fermentation process, all of the sugars will have turned into alcohol for this type of red wine.

How dry is Cabernet Sauvignon?

Not only is Cabernet Sauvignon a dry wine with no residual sugar, but it also has high levels of tannin that make the wine seem even drier. Tannins come from grape skins, seeds, and stems. They coat our mouth binding to proteins causing it to feel dry. This is why fatty foods like steak or cheese pair well with high-tannin wines. The tannins bind to the fats and wash them away creating a beautiful balance when enjoyed together.

Can Cabernet Sauvignon taste sweet?

Typically, red wine that comes from warm regions has strong, ripe fruit flavors. Combine those ripe fruit flavors with a lower level of tannins and you’ll have a red wine that is perceived with a bit of sweetness. Since Cabernet is known for its high level of tannins, it would be hard to find that sweet perception even in a warm climate Cab.

Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Wine Summary

Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry wine because it has no residual sugar and has high levels of tannins. Both of these elements combine to make the wine feel dry on your tongue. If the tannins are really high then you may feel like all of your saliva has been pulled away. I often feel like my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. Be sure to pair Cabernet Sauvignon with fatty foods for the best balance and enjoyment.


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