JWL Issue #072: What's the difference between velvety and full-bodied?

October 15, 2019

Everyone’s The Wine List October boxes should have arrived by now. It’s with great joy to deliver this package. I’ve sent out an excellent Gruner Veltliner, which has been one of my favourite white grapes from recent tastings. There’s some excellent displays at all price points. The other – Rubeno from Alto-Adige in Northern Italy – is made from the lesser known lagrein grape.

While we’re sold out of October boxes, we’re taking preorders for the next shipment: head over to thewinelist.net now.

I took a short newsletter break last week as we were in the Dordogne on a short holiday, but service has now resumed. This week there’s a French special with apologies to the wines you can’t pick up in the UK.

Finally, Indy readers might have seen me quoted today in an article about £5 supermarket wines, if you’ve tasted anything at that bracket that you’ve liked recently, let me know.

Taste

Wines to try

Chateau Le Payral, a Bergerac producer from between Montbazillac and Sainte-Foy, was the find of the holiday. The Lou Payral Rouge had a real wildness about it. Fresh, slightly bitter tannins with a mouthfeel like biting into dark forest fruits. Luscious, fresh, stemmy and wild! Feels far more cool climate than it is.

And yet, it’s their Lou Payral Blanc which I fell in love with. Cloudy, golden, saliney, nutty, honeyed, with a wonderful texture. Hints of stone fruit, but it’s not becuase of its fruit that this wine sings. Both available for about €10-12, and a true shame they aren’t available in the UK.

Domaine Machard de Gramont’s Nuits-St-Georges (€24 from Intermarché) was a perfect display of a particular type of red Burgundy. Lovely and ripe cherries, some oak, vanilla and smoke. Nothing too herbaceous with a slight meatiness. This was silky, with a pepper and fruity long finish. Love this.

Learn

"What's the difference between velvety and full bodied?"

Reader question this week. Velvety (or silky) refer to a particular type of tannic structure to a wine. Tannins come from grape skins and depending on the wine can either be astringent (that dryness you get on your gums when you swirl it around), or softer, and silkier, in which case the ‘velvety’ name might be used.

Body on the other hand is linked to how the wine feels in your mouth. I like the milk test: is it like skimmed, semi-skimmed, or full fat (for light, medium, and full bodied respectively)? The main driver of body is the alcohol content of a wine. Alcohol and tannins both come from a wine’s skins, so often a full bodied wine will be more tannic too. So you could have a velvety and full-bodied red, easily enough.

Further Reading:

Brits love £5 supermarket wine and can find good quality bottles at budget or higher end retailers - just don’t shop mid-market

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