When discussing wine, the term ‘body’ is commonly used — but what is it?
To put it simply, body refers to the way a wine feels in your mouth. When you drink different wines, they can feel quite different in your mouth depending on the body.
The body of a wine is described as light, medium or full. A full bodied wine has a rich, complex and well-rounded flavour that lingers in the mouth — while a light bodied wine lingers for less time and presents less subtle flavours. A medium body wine is somewhere in between.
Alcohol Content & Body
There’s a connection here. Body is affected by the alcohol content in a wine, with a higher alcohol content leading to a more full body.
This happens because alcohol is more viscous than water. Wines with lower alcohol content, like a German Mosel Riesling at around 8%, are often described as easy-drinking or even refreshing — these are wines with a very light body.
A port on the other hand, with alcohol content around 20%, can sometimes be referred to as ‘thick’ or ‘heavy’ due to it’s more viscous nature.
Examples of Light, Medium and Full Bodied Wines
Below are a few examples of different wines for each category of light, medium and full bodied:
Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, or Pinot Noir are examples of light-bodied wines.
Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are examples of medium-bodied wines.
Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and a late-harvest Riesling are examples of full-bodied wines.