Today’s Sommelier Lesson: A Wine’s “Body”

Today’s lesson comes from Master Sommelier Andrea Robertson, one of only 23 female Master Somms in the world. I recently had the pleasure of hearing her speak in Sonoma, California at the annual Wine Bloggers Conference, and I’d like to share some of her knowledge with you.

Let’s focus on evaluating the body of a wine. The term “body” refers to the general weight, fullness, the overall feeling of the wine in your mouth and how it coats your tongue. Wines don’t really have different physical weights and aren’t really thicker or thinner than each other, so the sensation we describe as body is a subjective impression. This “mouthfeel” of a wine is produced not by it’s mass or viscosity, but rather by it’s alcohol content, extracts, glycerol, and acidity.

You should be focusing on how the wine coats your mouth and tongue. Is it lean? Lush? The spectrum should lie somewhere between thin and waterlike to plump and plush.

One of the easiest “cheat sheets” to use is to think of the wine in relation to dairy products. (This is seriously one of the most helpful comparisons I’ve ever been taught):

Light Body: Skim Milk
Medium Body: Whole Milk
Full Body: Heavy Cream

Now get out there and practice, and you’ll be tasting and describing that wine like a Master Somm in no time!


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