People have been drinking wine for thousands of years – ever since the vineyard was invented. But today, wine drinking is a lot more than just glugging down a bottle of your favorite red. It’s all part and parcel of the culture. The problem is that a lot of us don’t have a clue what people mean when they say that “wine is full-bodied” or why they should swirl their wine. Not to fear, the principles behind wine are actually pretty straightforward. Here’s a rundown to help you know what people are talking about next time the conversation at dinner turns to wine.
What Does “Wine Body” Mean?
According to Keith Wallace, the founding president of the Wine School of Philadelphia, when people talk about the body of a certain wine, they’re talking about how it feels on their tongue. A full bodied red wine feels heavy and thick. A light wine feels thin and refreshing. Wallace likens it to the difference between swishing heavy cream and skimmed milk in your mouth. It’s essentially the same stuff, but one is a lot thicker than the other.
According to Wallace, the same analogy doesn’t apply when talking about white wines, but people describe them using the same terms. It’s important to remember that the word “body” refers to the feeling of the wine, not the flavor, whether it’s a red or white wine.
The Most Popular Grapes
After body comes the type of grape used in the production of the wine itself. There are, of course, hundreds of different varieties of grape that have been selected for their wine-making properties, but a few come up time and time again.
Sauvignon Blanc, for instance, is a white grape wine with medium body. Chardonnay is white grape, but full bodied. Merlot is a red grape with a medium body. And Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape with a full body.
The difference between the different grapes can be quite dramatic, but once you’ve got a handle on the names of the most popular grapes, you’ll have a good idea what people are talking about when the topic of conversation turns to wine.
What Are Tannins?
If you’ve ever been on a lifestyle blog that deals with the subject of wine, you’ve probably come across the word “tannin.” But what actually is a “tannin?” It turns out that it’s the name given to all the phytonutrients and chemicals that come from the skin of the grapes used to make the wine. According to experts, you can actually feel tannin when you sip wine. It’s the tannin in the wine that gives your mouth that dried out feeling when you take a gulp. The more tannin wine contains, the drier your mouth will feel. This is the reason why people refer to certain wines as “dry.” The more tannins, the more feeling of dryness after you take a sip.
Don’t Forget To Swirl
Finally, if you want your wine to be at its best, don’t forget to swirl. Wallace says that swirling is where the wine’s aroma comes from.
Are you a wine guru? Do you have any tips on wine? Leave a comment down below.