What Are The Heaviest Bodied Red Wines?

Have you ever read about a wine’s “body” from a review and had no idea what they were discussing? You’re not alone. Body is a term used interchangeably with several others and can be confusing to understand if you aren’t sure what it signifies. Thankfully, we can help you better understand this situation and make your wine purchases easier. 

What Are The Heaviest Bodied Red Wines

What Is Wine Body?

The term body (which may also refer to a wine’s boldness or thickness) refers to how heavy or light a wine feels in your mouth.

It is defined by several factors, including its alcohol level, the grape type used, and its overall sweetness.

Lighter wines typically go down more smoothly, while heavier wines may be more challenging for new wine drinkers to enjoy. 

What Exactly is Bold Red Wine?

Bold red wine is rich and thick wine with potent tastes that sit heavy in your mouth.

Many red wines include bold tastes with diverse flavor profiles and unique aromas.

Lighter options may provide a smoother overall drinking experience but lack the overall flavor and kick hardcore wine fans enjoy.

Boldness or body is based on:

  • Acidity: Interestingly, wines with lower acidity tend to be bolder because the acidity may impact how heavily it sits on your tongue. Higher acidity tends to balance a wine’s heaviness and lighten it a little, impacting how it feels in your mouth and in your stomach.
  • Sweetness: Sweeter wines typically sit lighter on the tongue because they have less alcohol. However, the extra sugar in wine may also make it feel heavier in some situations. For example, sugar-fortified high-alcohol red wines are heavier because the excess sugar adds density to the wine.

Many factors may influence a red wine’s boldness beyond these elements.

For instance, a winemaker may focus on specific winemaking techniques that bring out extra boldness, such as letting the grapes ferment longer to produce more alcohol.

However, the grape’s growing climate can also affect a wine’s boldness.

Man examining a full body red wine alcohol levels
Quck tip: Swirl a glass of wine. The longer it takes the ‘legs’ to slide down the side of the glass, the heavier the alcohol content.

The Climate Will Affect Boldness in Red Wine

Colder climates create lighter wines, while warmer ones will create heavier wines.

That’s because colder climates produce higher acidity in grapes and affect things like their tannins and potential alcohol levels.

For example, cold-weather grapes may have less sugar, which means the yeast put in the wine vat will have less food and produce more alcohol, producing lighter wines.

List of The Heaviest Bodied Red Wines

Let’s look at the top five boldest red wines in the world.

We’ll first list the heaviest-bodied wine and then progress to the fifth option.

In each listing, we’ll discuss a few things about this wine that may make this process easier, such as listing what foods go best with it:

  • Tannat: Tannat is at the highest end of wine boldness and typically thrives best in a warmer environment. Its taste is something that true wine fans will love but is often for hardcore wine drinkers or those people with more in-depth experience with heavier wines. 
  • Sagrantino: Here’s another wine you probably don’t know off the top of your head. While it is a pretty fantastic wine, its heaviness makes it a challenging option for some people to handle. In addition, it often blends best with some light and soft cheeses, such as a sharp cheddar or even a little feta. 
  • Petite Sirah: While still quite bold, a Petite Sirah is a bit easier to handle than the top two options. In some ways, it works perfectly as a transitional option to these heavier wines. Try it out first to see if you enjoy bold wines and progress to later possibilities if you want.
  • Touriga Nacional: Though not one of the better-known wines in America, Touriga is becoming a quick cult favorite in many wine clubs. Its heavy flavor and bold tastes make it an excellent option for people who want something a little different and who enjoy roast vegetables. 
  • Mourvedre: This appealing wine is also an excellent option for people just getting into heavier-bodied wines. It’s not too far above Petit Verdot and Pinotage, two options that typically go well with various meat-based dishes. Bread also helps take off the edge of these wines.


What is thick wine? 

Thick wines refer to wines with low acidity and a rich taste. In addition, it relates to the wine’s body (mostly alcohol levels), with heavier wines typically being the thickest.

What is the thickest red wine? 

While Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are probably the most popular thick red wines on the market, Tannat and Sagrantino are the thickest red wine options.

Which wines are heavy?

Heavy red wines include Syrah, Pinotage, petite Verdot, Petite Sirah, and Sagrantino. Tannat is the heaviest red wine on the market.

What is heavier Shiraz or Cab Sav? 

Typically, Shiraz or Syrah is just a bit heavier than Cab, though this may vary depending on the brand you purchase because of their closeness.

Which is heavier, Merlot or Cabernet?

Merlot is considered a light-bodied wine, though it is on the fringe of being heavier. On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon is well within the heavy range, making it the boldest option.

Which is heavier, Merlot or Shiraz?

Shiraz or Syrah is slightly heavier than Cabernet, which is heavier than Merlot. As a result, Shiraz is higher than Merlot, if only by just a bit more than Cab.

Is Pinot Noir A full-bodied wine?

Pinot Noir is quite low on the lightness scale and is not considered a full-bodied wine. Only two other red wines are lighter.

Emma Miller