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Wines + Herbs: Identify Wines By Body

By Tabitha Alterman
February/March 2011
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The way a wine feels in your mouth is referred to as “body.” Body can be light, as in a domestic Riesling; medium, such as Pinot Noir; or full-bodied, such as Malbec or Syrah. Generally, full-bodied wines also will have a higher alcohol content to help balance the overall composition of the wine. For more info, see the “How much does my wine weigh?

Light to Medium Body

• RED: Barbera, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Cabernet Franc, Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Gamay, Pinot Noir (esp. inexpensive), Rioja Crianza, rosé, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Valpolicella

• WHITE: Albarino, Bordeaux,  Chablis, Chardonnay (unoaked), Chenin Blanc, Gewürtraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Muscadet, Orvieto, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rioja, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc,  Soave, Verdicchio, Vinho Verde, Vouvray, sparkling

Medium to Full Body

• RED: Barolo, Bordeaux, Brunello, Burgundy (Grand Cru), Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti Classico, Malbec, Merlot, Montepulciano, Rhone, Rioja Grand Riserva, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel

• WHITE: Burgundy, Chardonnay (oaked), Rhone, Viognier, Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-Fuissé, Gavi, Semillon

DID YOU KNOW? Expensive Pinot Noirs tend to be much fuller-bodied than inexpensive versions.


Tabitha Alterman is the food editor at Mother Earth News and Natural Home magazines. She wonders if a small-fishbowl-sized glass counts as ONE glass of wine. Mother Earth News Natural Home 

Click here for the main article, 50 Ways to Pair Wine with Herbs.








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