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.
Drinking wine is usually more fun when several people are enjoying the wine together. Often wine is served with snacks. What are the best snacks to eat with wine?
Some wine connoisseurs suggest that only certain foods should be consumed at the same time, but there is no universal rule mandating such an idea.
Granted, for some official gatherings you may want to be super selective about your pairings, but if you are at home or among friends, you can drink wine and combine it with any food that you like; of course, some pairings will better enhance the taste buds.
Further, there is no harm in experimenting with different foods. If you are having a wine gathering, here are some food pairing suggestions.
- Crackers, cheese, and summer sausage are favorites of many that always go great with either red or white wine (Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay). This is a good snack to eat with Pinot Noir. You may wish to have a variety of different types of cheeses available (i.e., Cambernet, Brie, Cheddar, Roquefort, etc.) and salted crackers to enhance the taste. There are so many good cheese and cracker combinations.
- Veggies with hummus is another snack that is universally liked by most people. Plus, vegetarians, vegans, and individuals who try especially hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle will love this food. You can use a combination of veggies (carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumber), and an assortment of exotic homemade hummus (roasted, spicy, creamy avocado, etc.).
- Trail mix (almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts) is another great snack to eat with Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. To make it even tastier, add some dried fruit (cranberries, raisins) with a tinge of sweet roasted coconut.
- If you are at home watching a movie, then try popcorn with either sparkling (Champagne, Cava, Moscato) or dessert wine (Ice wine, Vin Santo, Sauternes).
- If popcorn is not your thing, then try potato chips (barbecue, spicy, onion flavor) and combine it with one of the following wines - Moscato, Riesling, Port, etc. If the chips are salty, stick with a sweet wine as it will also quench the thirst.
- Deli meat (Chorizo, slices of ham, Prosciutto, chicken fingers, salami, and chicken wings) will go great with fruity wines (i.e., Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, and Syrah).
- Almost any type of pizza goes great with wine (i.e., Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, Fiano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barberra, etc.). The key is to make the pizza spicy, hot with a variety of toppings (sausage, bacon, mushroom, olives, anchovies, and gorgonzola).
- Tortilla chips and dip (salsa verde, creamy tahini, spinach artichoke, avocado aioli, roasted garlic red hummus) will go great with Malbec, Chardonnay, or Port.
- Finally, if you are having a romantic get-together, then nothing beats chocolate and wine. Almost any Cadbury chocolate is a great snack to eat with Pinot Noir, but if you like dark chocolate, then Merlot, Zinfandel, or Syrah can make the romance blossom.
There really is no right or wrong food that can be eaten when consuming wine. It is all a matter of personal preference. What are the best snacks to eat with wine?
If you like a particular food, then, by all means, pair it with a wine and see what happens! Check out the Pacific Rim and Blog Company to discover new wines.