What are ‘medium-bodied reds’ exactly?—

Everyone seems to be a fan of ‘medium-bodied reds’, but what does that really mean, and how to get the best buy?

Some reds are texturally lighter than others. Think of it like the difference between skimmed milk, whole milk and cream. The level of alcohol contributes to a wine’s viscosity and a medium-bodied red is generally about 12.5% to 13.5%. Examples of grapes that tend to give medium-bodied reds include Cabernet Franc, Carménère and Carignan. Famous blended medium-bodied wines include Valpolicella, Rioja Reserva and Côtes du Rhône. But look out for Xinomavro from Greece – I reckon it offers the elegance of Pinot Noir with the depth of Barolo. These wines tend to have moderate tannin levels (the stuff that dries your mouth out) and, as a result, are forgiving when paired with a wide range of dishes.


PACKS A PEPPER PUNCH: Finest Peumo Carménère 2017 (13.5%) £7* Tesco. Plush, peppery and packed with flavour, this is superb value for money. (*On offer till March 4)

VA-VA-VIBRANT: Rive Droite, Rive Gauche Côtes du Rhône 2017 (13.5%) £7.75 The Wine Society. Glory in a glass, packing in the vibrancy of much higher priced reds.

TURBO TREAT: Valpolicella Ripasso 2016 (13.5%) £10.50 M&S. Turbo-boosted sunny cherry delight with a warming waft of dried herbs. Wonderful.

HEAVEN SCENT: De Martino La Aguada, Carignan, Vigno 2016 (13.5%) £33.50 bbr.com. Splashing out? This is guaranteed to impress – scented, classy and masterful.


Thymiopoulos Naoussa Kayafas 2016 (13.5%) £19 theatreofwine.co.uk. Rare treat with sensational fruit like a pomegranate power surge. Silky splendour.

This column was originally published in EVENT Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 24th February 2019