ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have been drinking wines for the last six months, but still can't determine whether the wine is full-bodied, medium-bodied or light-bodied. I really can't differentiate the so-called "weight" of the wine in my mouth. Is there any other way to determine a wine's "weight"?

—Nonnie, Sydney, Australia

Dear Nonnie,

A wine's body simply refers to how heavy it feels in your mouth. One way to think of body to is to think of the difference between skim milk (light), whole milk (medium), and cream (heavy). A wine's alcohol also hints at its body; the higher the alcohol percentage, the fuller the body is probably going to be.

Now, you didn't say what wines you've been drinking, so maybe you just happen to have been drinking wines of similar "weight" all along. You could ask a knowledgable friend or a retailer you trust to pick out one light-bodied wine (say, an elegant Pinot Noir) and one full-bodied wine (say, a brawny Cabernet Sauvignon) for you to try side-by-side.

—Dr. Vinny


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