What the "F" is body?
Mmmm. Everybody loves a wine with a nice full body right? It just sounds so sexy! Hold on there tiger, there is a lot more to body than you would expect. Body is a term used to describe how the weight and fullness of a wine feel inside your mouth. Body is often the biggest factor in determining what kind of wine you will like for both red and white wines.
So what the fuck is body?
Simply put, body is the perceived weight that a wine has on your mouth, or the fullness of how it feels. We generally categorize body in terms of light, medium, and full bodied and determine everything by how it feels inside our mouthes. It is pretty simple to grasp, but a pretty neat trick is thinking of light, medium, and full bodies as the difference between skim milk, whole milk, and cream. You could even try that trick with your next cup of coffee. Half and half, two sugars for us while you are at it. Thanks.
What gives the wine its "body?"
The biggest contributing factor is a wine's body. The alcohol content should ALWAYS be printed on the label, so looking it up can give you a good sense of how full bodied a wine feels when you drink it. Anything with less than 12% alcohol by volume (ABV) is considered light bodied, 12.5%-13.5% ABV is considered medium bodied, and anything above 14% ABV is full bodied. A lot of varietals make for wines that fall within a certain range, for example Pinot Noir is typically light bodied, but the winemaker can pull off some tricks to make a wine a little bit lighter or fuller as desired.
Light and full bodied wines are not only used to describe red wines. Some white wines, like Chardonnay and Viognier, can also be considered full bodied wines.
Is it "manly" to like fuller bodied wines?
This is a nonsense part of our culture, that it is more manly or empowering to like fuller bodied wines. Who makes up this shit? A wine's body has nothing to do with being rugged or manly. Body is a subjective concept when it comes to what wines you will like. If you like how a full bodied red wine feels on your mouth, awesome! If you prefer an easy drinking Pinot Meunier with its lighter body, then power to you.