Pacific Rim
May 12, 2021 | wine | Pacific Rim

What Winemakers Do To Make Full-Bodied Wines

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?

Glass Of Red Wine

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Shiraz is widely grown in many countries that produce dry full-bodied red wines. It has a distant aroma combined with tobacco flavor.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


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