Cards of Wine

Wine Body Levels

Body


Light Bodied Reds

Light bodied wines have low levels of alcohol, sugar, tannins, and extracts. They feel light in the mouth like water or skimmed milk.

Beaujolais
Valpolicella
Bourgogne
Pinot Noir (France)
St.Laurent
Zweigelt

Medium Bodied Reds

Medium bodied wines have medium levels of alcohol, tannins, sugar and extracts. They feel medium light in the mouth like whole milk.

Barbera
Cabernet Franc
Garnacha
Grenache
Merlot
Pinot Noir (NW)
Rioja
Côtes du Rhône
Chianti
Primitivo
Ribera del Duero
Sangiovese
Zinfandel

Full Bodied Reds

Full bodied wines have high levels of alcohol, tannins, sugar and extracts. They feel heavy in the mouth like whole milk.

Malbec
Bordeaux
Cab. Sauvignon
Nebbiolo
Syrah
Shiraz
Pinotage
Barbaresco
Barolo

Light Bodied Whites

  • Chablis
  • Chenin Black (Dry)
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Riesling (Dry)
  • Vinho Verde
  • Pinot Blanc

Medium Bodied Whites

  • Albariño
  • Bordeaux Blanc
  • Riesling (Spätlese)

Full Bodied Whites

  • Cardonnay (Oaked)
  • Pinot Gris (Oaked)

What is Body?

Body is a description of how the wine feels in your mouth.

Normally, we talk about 3 categories:

  • Light Body
  • Medium Body
  • Full Body

One way to think about the differences, is to think about:

  • Water
  • Skimmed milk
  • Whole milk

Body = Weight

Body is a name for the weight of a wine. All fluids have a weight determined by the content.

The body is determined by 3 factors: Alcohol, Sugar, and Extracts

Alcohol is a contributor to the body because it gives the wine viscosity. (Water is less viscous than syrup. Water is lighter and moves more easily than syrup).

Sugar is also a factor that adds to the body. The more sugar, the more body.

Extracts are other factors. Extract are solids like tannins, glycerol, fat, and acid.

Red vs White

Red wines are more full bodied than white wines.

Dry white wines have a light or very light body (like lemonade).

Full bodied white wines are known as creamy nutty, or oily.

Off-Dry whites are also defined as full bodied whites.

Oaked vs Unoaked

Oked red wines are more full bodied than unoaked reds.

Different winemaking techniques, such as leaving the wine longer with its skin also add body to a wine.

Most full bodied whites are oked or malolactic or both.