Red wine ‘body-types’

Light, medium, and full — no, we’re not talking about your mixer’s speed settings.

Those three words classify wine texture, and they help determine the colour,best aging practices, and tannin levels for red wines.

A light-bodied wine will have fewer tannins present and less presence on the palate. These wines tend to be less demanding partners with flavor-filled foods. Examples of light-bodied red wines include Chianti, Pinot Noir and Beaujolais Nouveau.

A medium-bodied red wine will contain more tannins but will not have near the pucker power of a high-powered Cabernet Sauvignon. Typical examples of medium-bodied red wines include: Merlot, Shiraz or Malbec.

Full-bodied red wines boast the highest tannin (and often alcohol) content. Prime examples of full-bodied reds are France’s esteemed Bordeaux wines, Cabernet Sauvignons and some Shiraz wines .

In general, light-bodied wines tend to “feel” more like water in the mouth. In contrast, “full-bodied” wines feel heavier, more like milk, this effect is due in large part to the higher tannin (and again, alcohol) content.


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