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The Ultimate Guide to Wine Body

One of the main characteristics people use to describe wine is its ‘body.’ A wine's body describes how heavy or light a wine feels in your mouth. Understanding the type of body a bottle of wine has will make it easier for you to select wines and pair it with foods. Wine body is broken down into three categories: light body, medium body, and full body. The wine experts at Theorem Vineyards explain the difference below!

What Determines a Wine's Body?

Although many different factors contribute to a wine's body, the main factor is alcohol. Alcohol has a substantial effect on a wine's viscosity, or how easily a liquid responds to stress. For example, water has less viscous than honey because it has less weight and moves easier. Honey is more viscous and thus holds together more tightly. A wine that has more alcohol is more viscous, so it feels heavier and fuller in the mouth. Full-bodied wines have high viscosity, and light-bodied wines have low viscosity.

In most cases, wines under 12.5% alcohol-by-volume are light-bodied wines, such as Riesling or Prosecco. Wines between 12.5% and 13.5% ABV are considered medium-bodied. Good examples of medium-bodied wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Rose . Wines that are over 13.5% ABV are considered full-bodied wines. Some wine varieties considered full-bodied include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec. Although most full-bodied wines are red wines, Chardonnay is an example of a white wine that can come in medium-bodied and full-bodied varieties.

Light-Bodied Wine

Light-bodied wines are more delicate and leaner. They typically contain the lowest amount of alcohol content, and they are lighter in the mouth. Due to their lightness, many people find that light-bodied wines are more approachable and pair well with lighter foods, such as white meat, seafood, or salads.

Examples of light-bodied wines include the following:

  • Riesling
  • Pinot Noir
  • Gamay
  • Schiava
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Medium-Bodied Wine

Medium-bodied wines are a smooth transition for people who want to try light wines with a little more fullness. They pair well with more complex foods such as meaty fish, roasted chicken, or pasta.

Examples of medium-bodied wines include the following:

  • Grenache
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Sangiovese

Full-Bodied Wine

Full-bodied wines contain the highest alcohol content, and they are fuller in the mouth. They are usually more approachable when paired with rich and fatty foods like steak or creamy pasta. They pair well with rich and fatty foods because they cut through fat and complement rich flavors.

Examples of full-bodied wines include the following:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Zinfandel
  • Malbec
  • Bordeaux Blend
  • Petit Verdot
  • Petite Sirah
  • Tannat
  • Sagrantino

Plan a Getaway to Theorem Vineyards

There’s no better place to expand your knowledge about wine than the world-famous wine-growing region: Napa Valley. There are countless places to visit, wine varieties to taste, and things to learn. At Theorem Vineyards, we provide visitors with singular wine tasting experiences and unique vineyard tours. Our vineyards are one of the most enchanting estates in Napa Valley. The first time you walk onto our property, you immediately become aware of its beauty, power, and history. Although our wines can be enjoyed anywhere in the world, we hope you join us for a tour soon.

Contact us today at (707) 942-4254 to schedule a tour at Theorem Vineyards!