It's a question that constantly comes up. "What's a good wine to buy?" Or there are the related questions of "What wine should I drink?" or "What wine do you recommend?" These are all great questions that are well intended whether from someone who knows little about wine or someone with significant experience with wines. And while my fundamental philosophy is that you should drink what you like, there are some guidelines when trying to identify wines that you may like.
One of the many keys to understanding wines and to determining what you might like is the characteristic of 'body.' In general, wines get categorized into three groups: Light bodied, medium bodied and full bodied. While these categories may seem obvious to some, the subject of a wine's body is a bit difficult to explain. It takes time and wine tasting experience to gain a full appreciation. But let's give it a quick try.
The body of a wine is based on multiple things, but mostly how it feels in your mouth. Full bodied wines are typically described as big, bold and powerful, having more tannin and dark fruit flavors. On the other end of the spectrum, light bodied wines are usually considered delicate, with subtle flavors, and bright acidity.
The alcohol content of a wine also strongly influences a wines body. In general, a wine with an alcohol content below 12.5% is considered a light bodied wine. If the alcohol content is 12.5% to 13.5% it is considered medium bodied. And any wine with alcohol greater than 13.5% is considered full bodied (remember that by law a wine label must list it's percent alcohol, though it's usually in fine print).
So next time we'll get into exploring more about light, medium and full bodied wines. Once you get an understanding and appreciation for these categories, it starts to help answer those questions regarding which wines to drink. And once we narrow things down to the best category for your palette, we'll then begin exploring specific wines in those categories and others with similar characteristics. Until then, Cheers!