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Key terms: Body, Balance, and Finish

The terms body, balance, and finish round out our key nine terms of “wine speak.” These are important terms when it comes to the vocabulary of wine.

BODY is about apparent mouthfeel and weight. As mentioned in the video, think about milk: skim, two percent, and whole. Same technical weight in ounces, but different sensations in the mouth. Body is a great way to start a wine conversation when buying wines, and is one of the key ways wine people start discussing a particular wine.

BALANCE is elusive, and I liken it to watching live music when all the performers are working well together. In wine, it would be the aroma of the fruits, the acidity, the structure of the wine, the tannins, and the body all working together to make the sum greater than the parts.

FINISH is everything that happens after you swallow the wine, and is tied to acidity. Wether a wine has a short finish or a long finish doesn’t make it good or bad, it just is what it is. Finish is rarely brought up in a wine sales context (you don’t walk into a shop saying “I want a wine with a long finish) but is quite useful when describing a wine that you had and enjoyed (“I found I really liked the long finish of that wine”).

More links for learning

An academic paper on the sensation and perception of taste and flavor

Many Roads to Mouthfeel (an article on the role of glycerols in wine flavor development).

A very neat article: Selling Wine by Weight and Mouthfeel

Wine Spectator: What is a Wine’s “Finish”?

The Kitchn: Wine Words – Balance

Vinepair: What is a “Well Balanced Wine” and Why Should I Care?