The body of the wine is defined by the heavy and rich taste of a wine. It is a combination of several factors: grape variety, alcohol level and even level of sweetness.
If you're trying to find new favorites, the body of the wine is a great way to differentiate between varietals to find your style preference. Let's break down the different body styles with a few examples so you can find more of what you like.
How to tell the body of a wine
It is easy to taste the difference between whole milk and skim milk because of the level of fat. That being said, the fullness of wine body flavor is not as easy to identify as it involves many factors.
Fortunately, there are a few clues you can look for on the wine bottle:
- Alcohol level: Wines with more than 14% alcohol tend to have a fuller flavor.
- Grape variety: Some grape varieties produce more full-bodied wines (see below).
- Aging of oak: Like bourbon, wines aged in fresh oak barrels often have a fuller flavor. Wine producers often mention oak aging on the back label.
- Type of climate: Typically, grapes grown in warmer climates tend to produce richer, fuller-bodied wines (it depends on the grower!).
- Residual sugar: Unfermented grape remaining sugars in a wine increases the body without increasing the sweetness. Unfortunately, this is rarely mentioned on a wine label.
Variety of grape vs body of wine
Certain grape varieties are known to produce wines which integrate perfectly with the morphology of the wine. Here are a few examples to explore.
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Light red wines
Generally speaking, light red wines have average alcohol levels, lower tannins and less color. They often have a mild taste due to the reduced tannins (eg, they are less astringent).
Additionally, when grown in cooler climates, light reds sometimes taste a bit 'tangy' or 'spicy' of. increased acidity.
Medium-bodied red wines
Gourmet wines! The difference between medium and full-bodied wines has a lot to do with alcohol and acidity level. We humans tend to perceive wines with higher acids to have a lighter taste. Thus, grape varieties with more natural acidity often fall into the medium-bodied category.
Additionally, many wines fall into this category because of the way they are made. For example, a Merlot with less alcohol (less than 14%) and less oak aging can also be medium bodied.
Full-bodied red wines
Cocktail wines! Full-bodied red wines taste so rich that they can stand on their own. What makes them taste great? Well, anything that increases tannin, higher alcohol, and lower acidity results in a heavier taste.
Additionally, aging wines in oak barrels not only adds oak flavors of vanilla, cedar and baking spices to the wines, but it also softens the flavors.
For geeks, there is also a tasteless substance called glycerol, naturally derived from the fermentation of grapes, which increases the body's perception of wine.
What about white wines?
The same exact rules for red wines also apply to wine body in white wines. For example, the main reason Chardonnay is considered a full bodied white wine is due to aging in oak.
Show me more wines by body
Take a look at the Grapes page on Wine Folly, to see how the varieties stack up!
Or, you can get the Wine Folly: Magnum Edition Book - it contains a collection of 100 common grape varieties and wines to explore.
Also, if you are looking for good red wines for beginners, take a look at this short list of 6 wines!
We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.
If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles allie all the required equipment along with your prefered wine pack so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine kits.
The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )
Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising
Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain packs ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the packs we list in this section require little ageing.
As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !
From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your conteneur and provides a gentle heat. It is very souple and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the conteneur, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the juste temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter coffret packages. See our video showing the variétés of heating equipment available for your fermentation.
It is important to clean
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment packs which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment