16 Oct I’m in love with your body
– A Wine Bluffer guide
Body is a term that’s used all the time in the wine trade. It’s not a scientific expression but a way to describe the way a wine ‘feels’ (mostly in the mouth) from light to heavy, or as some wine writers like to put it, lightness to boldness.
The four main characteristics to look for when describing body are alcohol percentage, acidity/sweetness and tannin.
Heavy bodied wines tend to have higher alcohol content, less acidity, giving a rounder mouth feel, greater tannin content, resulting in increased texture on your tongue and may be sweeter, certainly not drier.
By contrast, a light bodied wine is lower in alcohol, higher in acidity, often leading to reduced sweetness with lower tannin content, giving a cleaner feeling in the mouth.
For some people, all of this is fairly simple and almost innately obvious. For others, it needs to be learnt, it depends on your palate. Alcohol level is important here and is one thing that the label can tell you before you open the bottle. Very light wines can have around 10% alcohol whereas a heavy wine can be up to 15% by volume.
You can think of it like fat content in food. A fatty rib-eye steak is tastier (more flavourful) than a fillet steak. Full fat milk has a stronger flavour than skimmed milk.
Equally, if you are used to drinking beer – especially bitter – then you will recognise the stronger flavour and sweetness that you get from a higher alcohol beer compared with a ‘session’ ale with a lower alcohol content. With beer, this is clearly evident with only an alcohol differential of 1%. With wine, it is more complex and subtle.
Anyway, I hope this helps you when talking about wine or for describing the sort of wine you’d like to your waiter. And body, as I have previously posted, is especially important for matching wine with food.
Love your body!