The body is synonymous with a wine’s mouth-feel on your palate. Unlike tannins, acidity or sweetness, which are singular sensations, a wine’s body is a mix of these sensations.
There are few rules we have for working out the body of a wine. Wines with high tannins or sweetness will be fuller in body. High acidity levels will disguise the levels of sweetness or tannins, which brings down the perceivable body. Alcohol level and fruit concentration will also give the wines a fuller body.
Light Bodied – These are wines that have low sugar and tannin levels. They will also have medium-high acidities. An example of a light bodied wine is: dry Riesling. These will be dry, have no tannins and a high acidity. They can have high fruit concentrations, which again are balanced by the high acidities.
Medium Bodied – These are wines that rate medium on all fronts: tannin, sugar and acidity. As acidity affects our perception of tannins, sugar and fruit concentration, for a wine to be medium bodied it will often be the most ‘balanced’ wine. An example of a medium bodied wine is: Pinot Noir. These will be dry, have medium tannins and a medium-high acidity.
Full Bodied – These are wines that have either high sugar levels or high tannins levels. The acidity on these wines can be low-high depending on the level of either tannin or sugar on which the acidity is attempting to balance. An example of a full bodied wine is: Cabernet Sauvignon. These will be dry, high in tannins and have a medium-high acidity.