Wine Word Wednesday: Body
Light-bodied, medium-bodied, full-bodied; what does it all mean?? Seems like something crazy technical right? It's actually more basic than you would think. Simply put, these are just fancy terms for how the wine feels in your mouth. Less simple, it is a general weight, 'fullness' or overall feel. A great way to imagine this is how skim milk, whole milk or cream feels in your mouth. Full-bodied wines are big and powerful. In contrast, light-bodied wines are more delicate and thin. Medium-bodied wines fall somewhere in between.
Why the difference you may ask? The real reason is the alcohol! Alcohol affects the viscosity (the state of being thick, sticky, and semifluid inconsistency, due to internal friction, thanks dictionary.com) of wine. The more alcohol a wine has the more viscous or thicker it feels... or FULL BODIED! A good rule of thumb is under 12.5% is generally light-bodied, 12.5-13.5% is medium-bodied and 13.5% and above are full-bodied.
An important thing to remember that this doesn't just fall along color lines. While many white wines are light bodied, Chardonnay can absolutely fall into the full-bodied category.