For individuals who may be new to the world of wines, it is a fascinating industry. It is often replete with difficult-to-understand terminology, using descriptive words such as body, astringent, aroma, appellation, earthy, and so on. But one phrase frequently used to describe wine is the “body of the wine.”
WHAT DOES A FULL-BODIED RED WINE MEAN?
The full-bodied wine meaning reflects the weight or texture of the beverage in your mouth. The body of the wine depends on several factors, including the alcohol content, level of acidity, the amount of sugar, and the type of grapes used.
When you drink a full-bodied wine, the taste is complex, and the flavor will linger in your mouth for some time. For example, when you drink a cola beverage, it tastes sweet, but within a few seconds, the flavor is gone.
On the other hand, if you drink a glass of milk, the beverage is thick, flavorful, viscous, and the taste will linger in your mouth for some time. This reflects the body of the liquid. The same applies to full-bodied wines.
On the other hand, there are also light-bodied wines, which have less viscosity and minimal after-taste. Medium-bodied wines fall in between the two categories. Both red and white wines can be full-bodied, but, in general, there are more full-bodied red wines than white wines.
If you want to select a full-bodied wine but have no idea about their names, go with the color. The darker the color, the bolder the wine. To a large extent, the boldness comes from the grape skin; the thicker the skin, the bolder the wine.
The other key factor that contributing to the wine's body is the alcohol content (Alcohol by Volume - ABV). When the wine has a high alcohol content, it will become viscous and move slowly and feel heavier in the mouth. Overall,wines with an alcohol content of over 13.5% are considered full-bodied wines. Wines between 12.5%-13.5% are medium-bodied, and those less than 12.5% alcohol are considered light. All wines will have a label that will reveal the alcohol content to tell the body status quickly.
Some well-known full-bodied red wines include the following:
1. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most well-known red wines. It is a full-bodied wine with high tannins that give it a flavor of pepper and mature rich black currants.
2. Douro red wines from Portugal are often purplish, with flavors ranging from light to dark ripened fruits.
3. Malbec is a French wine known for its deep purplish color and rich blackberry fruity flavors that includes a tinge of acidity.
4. Mourvedre is a wine high in tannins and alcohol. The wine has a combination of earthy and soft red fruity flavors.
5. Nero D’avola is a wine made in Sicily with flavors that range from sweet to peppery.
6. Petite Sirah is deep-colored wine with rich black fruity flavors.
7. Shiraz is a well-liked wine because of its plum, tobacco, pepper, and blackberry flavors.
8. Syrah is made from dark-skinned grapes and the flavors vary from light chocolate to black pepper.
9. Tannat is wine made in Southern France that is high in tannins and one of the fruitier wines. It is often blended with many other wines.
Full-bodied red wines are generally not consumed alone but instead paired with foods like steak, different plates of pasta, pork, or chicken. The combination goes well because these fat-rich foods can cut through the acidic taste and bring out the wine's rich, fruity flavors.
So uncork a bottle of your FAVORITE WINE and explore your possibilities!
One of the best ways to get acquainted with red wines is to know the wine chart. The full-bodied wine chart above includes light-bodied, medium-bodied, and old wine examples as well. There are many red wine charts, but they essentially tell the same story, which is outlined below.
Their delicate nature characterizes light wines. They are not viscous, flow like water, tend to be fruity, and have low alcohol content, which is usually less than 12.5%. Some well-known light red wines include Pinot Noir, Gamay, Lambrusco, and Nebbiolo.
Medium-bodied red wines tend to have an alcohol content between 12.5% and 13.5%. They have mild viscosity. Some of the typical medium-bodied wines include Merlot, Sangiovese, Rose, and Barbera.
Full-bodied dark red wines have an alcohol content of over 13.5% and have complex flavors and aromas. They are also much darker in color. Due to the high alcohol content, it is easy to get a little tipsy faster on full-bodied wines. Well-known full-bodied wines include Shiraz, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Malbec.
Old wines are usually from countries that started producing wines centuries ago, like France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, and Germany. Old wines tend to be older than 25 years. Most old wines have a soft nature but do have an intense acidic taste. Overall, however, the alcohol content tends to be slightly lower. Classic old wines include Burgundy and Barolo.
One of the best ways to learn about dark red wines, and all wines, is by visiting vineyards where tasting events are common.
The more you taste wines, the better you will be able to differentiate them. Pacific Rim and Company arose from a love and passion of Riesling wines. Located in the Pacific Northwest and with an online presence, Pacific Rim and Company representatives are available to answer your wine questions and offer selections that are sure to please your palette.
Wines are complex beverages; besides just the sweetness and color, one has to be able to recognize the texture and thickness (body) of the wine in the mouth. The body of the wine has little to do with acidity or sweetness.
For example, when you drink water, it easily flows down your throat, feels smooth, and has no lingering taste. But if you drink a glass of strawberry milkshake, this will feel thick and viscous and there is often a lingering taste - this is what is known as the body of the beverage. Wine tasters often classify a wine by its body.
In general, a bottle of full-bodied sweet wine will have an ABV (alcohol by volume) of over 13.5 percent. The moment you drink it, you will notice the viscosity (thickness). These heavy-bodied wines can be slightly difficult to drink in large amounts because of their high ABV.
WHAT IS THE HEAVIEST BODIED RED WINE?
There are many full-bodied sweet wines and some of them include the following:
Cabernet Sauvignon is perhaps the most well-known heaviest-bodied red wine from France. It is loaded with a fruity taste combined with cedar and pepper flavoring.
Syrah has flavors ranging from thick red velvet cake to dark pitted olives. This particular wine will immediately tingle your taste buds leaving behind a tinge of acidity. The Syrah grape is grown in the Northern Rhone region of France, where some of the country's most well-known wines are produced.
Merlot is a dark, bluish-colored wine made from blue-colored grapes with thick skin and soft fruit. When this wine is allowed to age, it accumulates a high concentration of tannin combined with the taste of sweet black cherry pie and smoke tobacco flavor.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are two other full-bodied red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon is a French wine that is fruity and sumptuous but the taste can vary from smoky to savory, depending on how it is processed.
Zinfandel, a full-bodied and fruity wine, dominates the wine scene in California, but it is believed to have originated from Croatia. Today, Zinfandel is also produced in Southern Italy.
Another full-bodied red wine is Petite Sarah. Made from dark grapes, this reddish-purple-colored wine has varied tastes that range from blackberries and black pepper to spice and blueberries. Petite Sarah is not the same as the Syrah variety; even though both wines are made from different types of grapes, they tend to have a similar texture and taste.
Other full-bodied sweet wines and red wines include Mourvedre, Shiraz, Douro Reds, and Malbec. The one way to tell if you will like a full-bodied red wine is to taste it.
Full-bodied red wines have a more viscous texture, are heavier, tend to have complex aromas, and leave a bold taste in the mouth compared to light-bodied red wines. But how are dry full-bodied wines made?
The key to making the best full-bodied red wine is to understand the different types of grapes and their components. Grapes have several components, which include the skin, the actual fruit, and the seeds or pips. In almost all cases, the pips have a high concentration of tannins.
The darker the grapes, the more likely it is that the seeds will be rich in tannins and other fruity flavors. Therefore, to make a full-bodied red wine, the key is to select dark, thick-skinned grapes and allow them to ferment a little longer than usual. After the initial fermentation, an additional fermentation, known as Malolactic fermentation, is allowed to take place.
This latter process results in a higher concentration of lactic acid which gives the resulting wine a thick, creamier, and fuller or bold taste. To further enhance the boldness, the wine is then stored in oak barrels, which results in the generation of extra tannins and a rich aroma, which contributes to the overall fullness of the wine body.
Sometimes the manufacturer will add some additional sugar to discontinue the fermentation process, which results in a thick viscous dark wine. In general, grapes that are grown in warmer climates or higher temperatures usually tend to be sweeter and, when fermented, tend to produce a higher content of alcohol, which again enhances the body of the wine.
What are the best full-bodied red wines?
- Petite Sirah is a distinct grape variety grown in the French Alps and is known to be associated with blackberry flavor and a higher alcohol content.
- Mourvedre is another rustic and full-bodied red wine that is rumored to have originated in Spain. It is dark in color and has distinct meaty flavors.
- Shiraz is widely grown in many countries that produce dry full-bodied red wines. It has a distant aroma combined with tobacco flavor.
- Syrah is a dark or black grape resembling an olive. It is one of the most potent dry full-bodied red wines. High in tannins, it will quickly grab your attention at the first sip.
- Malbec is another variety of grape that is grown at high altitudes. When mature, the dark grape has vanilla and blueberry flavors, but can also acquire the aroma of tobacco and raisins depending on where it is grown. There are several varieties of malbec depending on their acidity and aroma.
If you are unsure about the body of the wine, read the label for the alcohol content. If it is 13 percent or higher, you can rest assured that this red wine will be full-bodied.
Most people go to a restaurant and order wine based on the color or the smell. Unfortunately, this is a very crude way of telling which one is a good wine. To understand wine and its taste, it is important to know the term “boldness.” Wine connoisseurs usually describe wines in terms of their boldness.
For example, when you consume ginger ale, the beverage is smooth, there is no viscosity (thick or semi-fluid inconsistency), and the drink easily goes down the throat with little aftertaste. On the other hand, if you were to consume a milkshake, the first thing you will notice is the viscosity; plus, the flow down the throat is slow and there is usually a residual taste.
The texture and fullness are described as boldness. Some wines are light in terms of boldness and others are described as full-bodied. A full-bodied red wine definition would be a red wine that is thick, heavy, and has a mouthfeel of viscous.
Compared to white wines, red wines are more likely to be full-bodied. The boldness of red wine is due to several factors of which the most important is the selection of the grapes.
The darker the grape, the more likely it is that the wine will be full-bodied. Grapes grown in warmer climates tend to be sweeter, have a higher tannin content, and likely to have a higher concentration of alcohol. Sometimes, during the process of fermentation, the manufacturer will add some sugar which also adds to the viscosity.
Overall, most full-bodied red wines have a higher alcohol concentration. What is full-bodied red wine? These full-bodied red wines will instantly hit your palate and leave a lingering taste and aroma in your mouth.
FULL-BODIED WINE FACTS
What is full-bodied red wine? There are several great full-bodied red wines on the market and some of them include the following characteristics:
- Petite Sirah is a distinct grape variety grown in the French Alps and is known to be associated with blackberry flavors. It is high in tannin content, which will usually leave a dry taste in the mouth.
- Grenache/Garnacha is a red wine bursting with fruity flavors. The wine is made in Spain and it has a very high alcohol content.
- Rioja is another red wine from northern Spain. Made from Tempranillo grapes, it is known for its dusty and savory flavors, and high tannin content. It is often matured in American oak barrels to enhance the alcohol content and aroma.
- Carignane (Carignano) is a very potent bold red wine made in France, Italy, and Spain. It is very high in tannin and strongly acidic.
- Tannay is another dark red wine grown in Southern France and has a reputation for being bold, flavorful, and fruity.
Other bold red wines include Mourvedre, Shiraz, Syrah, and malbec. These full-bodied red wines are best consumed in small amounts with meaty dishes and sweet desserts.