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What is 'body'? | Wine 101

A wines ‘body’ refers to how heavy, rich, and complex a wine is. When you decipher your preference on body, it’s a great way to figure out what kind of wine you favor. It will help next time you're out and want to get a glass, or when you're wandering around the wine shop for too long and can't decide!

Contributors to a wines body:

  • Alcohol level

    • Probably the biggest contributor to body. As a general rule, wines with an alcohol level over 14% tend to taste ‘full-bodied’.

  • Grape variety

    • Grape varieties with thicker skins tend to produce fuller-bodied wines. For example, Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned, low tannin grape, resulting in a light bodied wine. Then on the other hand, think Malbec. Thicker skinned, more tannins, warmer climate grown…big-bodied red.

Clues to gauge body:

  • Tannin level

    • Generally speaking, a wine that is more tannic is typically fuller-bodied.

  • Viscosity

    • Look at the wine, can you see through it? Viscosity references the color of the wine, the lighter, the less alcohol.

  • Climate

    • Generally speaking, grapes grown in warmer climates tend to produce fuller-bodied wines. Cooler climate grown grapes tend to produce a sharp or bright flavor, from the increased acidity.

  • Aging technique

    • If a wine is aged in oak, it tends to be fuller-bodied. Oak aging is typically noted on the back label!

Here is a couple helpful links to learn more about ‘Body’:


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