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When you read wine reviews, you’ll see people say things like it’s “full bodied” or a “light bodied” wine. To the new wine lover, this can be hard to grasp. I mean, because really, you drink what you like and that’s how you rate it, right? We do! But, learning the lingo is helpful because as you get more into learning about wine, you will discover which “body” you prefer and that will direct you toward what you may like. So let’s break it down super easy because that’s how we roll around here at DUVAI.

These are terms used to describe the general weight, ‘fullness’ or overall feel of a wine in your mouth. Full-bodied wines are big and powerful. In contrast, light-bodied wines are more delicate and fresh. Medium-bodied wines fall somewhere in between. A good rule of thumb is to think of the bodies like milk: Whole, Skim and Fat Free. It’s all milk but each has something different regarding the texture and taste.

The alcohol content plays a role in the body of wine. So, a wine that has a high content will be more of a full body wine. Both red and white wines can fall into a “body” category but regarding “full body,” red wines tend to fall mostly into this category. Wines with under 12.5% alcohol are said to “light-bodied.” These are generally the white wines we think of as crisp and refreshing. Usually those light summer wines will fall in this category.

Wines between 12.5% and 13.5% are considered medium-bodied. I tend to use medium bodied white wines when I’m cooking. They won’t overpower your dish and have a nice punch of flavor.

Any wine over 13.5% alcohol is considered full bodied. Most of the wines over 13.5% alcohol are usually red but Chardonnay is an example of a white that can be considered full-bodied. These wines tend to have a very pronounced flavor. You’ll taste the fruit, the oak and see a deep color.

So let’s break it down:

Light Body: Riesling, Prosecco
Medium Body: Rose, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc
Full Body: Chardonney, Zinfandel (not White Zinfandel folks), Syrah, Cabernet (Franc & Sauvignon), Merlot and Malbec

Until next time,