Though it’s often touted that full bodied wines are some of the most delicious on the market, the different bodies of wine — including full, medium, and light — each have their pros and cons. Understanding the difference between these body levels, however, can be a bit difficult, especially to the novice wine lover.
Essentially, this lingo is a way to suggest the mouthfeel, alcohol content, and boldness of a type of wine, not the price or quality. Even though between 71% and 73% of Millennials drink beer, wine, or liquor, few know how to tell whether a glass of wine is light or full bodied. Here’s a guide regarding the differences between full bodied wines, medium bodied wines, and light bodied wines so you can make the best decision when you order wine online.
Light bodied wine
Light body wines are characterized by their lean, delicate nature. This is because this type of wine will usually have a light viscosity, or consistency, akin to the lightness of water. This also refers to the mouthfeel, a phrase Sommeliers and food lovers often shout about but don’t actually explain.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a light bodied wine is thin or unpleasant; it simply means that it’s an easy drinking wine that pairs well with other light and lean foods, like chicken and salmon. These wines are often at or below 12.5% alcohol by volume. Some examples of a light bodied wine include Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc, though these wines could also tread into the medium bodied category depending on the vineyard.
WTSO Wine Recommendation: Domaine La Bruyère Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Full bodied wine
Full bodied wines are often considered the antithesis to a light bodied wine. While a light bodied wine is easy to drink and pairs well with a variety of foods, a full bodied wine is a little heavier with bold tasting notes, complex flavors, and a powerful aroma. These wines are typically meant to be sipped over a prolonged period since they are so bold. They often have an alcohol content of over 13.5% by volume.
More often than not, full bodied wines are reds like Malbec, Shiraz, and Merlot. However, some whites can also tread into this category, such as Chardonnay. They pair well with hearty flavors like steak and mushrooms.
WTSO Wine Recommendation: 94 Pt. Bodegas Bianchi Gran Malbec IV Generación 2018
Medium bodied wine
Medium bodied wines are listed last because they fall somewhere in between light and full bodies. They typically have an alcohol content between 12.5% and 13.5%. Medium bodied wines encompass a broad spectrum of wines and viscosities and are designed to complement a variety of foods. Such medium bodied options to look for while wine online shopping include Merlot, Rosé, and Pinot Grigio.
WTSO Wine Recommendation: Milani 1985 Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC 2022
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