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The Body of Wine: What is it?

When you are first starting out in the wine-tasting world, you come face to face with the intensity and complexity of certain wines as you taste them. One of the things that your palate will start to recognize is the thickness and texture of the wine in your mouth. We identify this mouthfeel as the body of the wine. It can be difficult to explain a wine’s body because it is not as obvious as sweetness or acidity.

Glass with red wine

The body of wine can be described in three ways:

When the body of a wine is light, think of drinking a glass of water. It’s thin, goes down easily, and is smooth.

When the body of a wine is medium, think of drinking a glass of skim milk. The consistency is thicker, but not too thick, and sticks around in your mouth a little longer.

Lastly, when the body of a wine is full, think of drinking a glass of whole milk. This would be the thickest, with the longest-lasting finish.

Light-bodied wines

Light-bodied wines are light and delicate on your palate making them popular during the summer because they are crisp and refreshing.

Medium-bodied wines

These wines are known for being “in-between” because there is no true cut off for where they actually sit on the tasting spectrum. Sometimes they can be more light-to-medium bodied, or they can be medium-to-full. These wines are usually the best to pair with food because they have the perfect balance of tannins and acidity.

Full-bodied wines

These robust and powerful natured wines are bold. These would include deep red wines and ports, and these characteristics come from their skins which are packed with tannins. If you taste a full-bodied wine, you’ll notice it leaves a coated finish in your mouth.

What gives a wine its body?

Tannins, sugar, and acids all contribute and determine the overall body of a wine. Something that can help you determine the body of a wine is its alcohol level. Alcohol adds to the intensity and thickness of a wine. The more alcohol that wine has, the heavier it becomes and the bigger mouthfeel it offers.  The grape itself determines the body, starting in the skins. Thick-skinned grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon contain a lot more extract than Pinot Noir, which is thin-skinned. Production methods also impact the weight of the wine as well, say if the wine was oaked. White wines tend to be much lighter than red wines, but there can be fuller-bodied white wines – like buttercream chardonnay.

Can I make my own?

Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help you make the wine of your dreams! The Spring Chilean winemaking season starts in late April, early May. Secure your winemaking grapes or juices and give us a call at (877) 812-1137 to speak with one of our Musto Crush Crew members. We can get you set up with everything you need and provide customer support along the way to ensure your success!