Wine styles

Guide to full-bodied white wines

If creamy, nutty whites packed with ripe tropical-fruit flavours sound like your idea of heaven, then these are for you. With more weight and aromatic character than their crisper counterparts, many of these wines have the heft to cope with oak ageing and the vanilla-and-toast complexity that comes with it.

I Like... Full-bodied Rich White Wines

Popular grapes & styles

Where you'll find it: Worldwide. Famous regions include Burgundy in France, Australia and California.

Flavours: Apple, tropical fruit and toasted brioche.

Style: One of the world's most classic wines, round, structured and creamy-textured.

Food: Chicken in a creamy sauce, butternut squash risotto.

Drink it here: Over a special meal on date night.

View our Chardonnay Wines

Where you'll find it: Rhône (often blended with viognier), south of France, Australia, South Africa.

Flavours: Honey, citrus, floral.

Style: Fresh and elegant.

Food: A good fish pie, chicken liver parfait, or lobster if you're feeling fancy.

Drink it here: With fellow foodies over a feast (and afterwards linger over the rest of the bottle).

View our White Rhône Wines

Where you'll find it: Bordeaux (where it's a crucial white grape) and Australia's Hunter Valley.

Flavours: Lemon, blossomy, lanolin

Style: Waxy and concentrated. Also capable of lighter, unoaked examples and responsible for some of the finest sweet wines such as Bordeaux's Sauternes and Barsac.

Food: Spicy stewed vegetables, sushi.

Drink it here: Wow your dinner guests with it next time you're cooking a Japanese or Indian-inspired menu.

View our Semillon Wines

Where you'll find it: Mainly the Loire in France and South Africa.

Flavours: Apple, pear and honey.

Style: Ripe and creamy-textured with bright fruit (Vouvray – can be off-dry, incredible ageing potential).

Food: Goat's cheese pasta, hog roast.

Drink it here: At your next chilled gathering with friends.

View our Chenin Blanc Wines

Where you'll find it: Throughout the Rioja region in Spain.

Flavours: Nutty, zesty and vanilla.

Style: Round and creamy-textured.

Food: A tapas feast or a good ham and cheese platter.

Drink it here: Bring a bottle to your next tapas night for anyone that doesn't like sherry.

View our White Rioja Wines

What makes a wine full-bodied and rich?


Ageing a wine in oak can have various effects on a wine. Flavour-wise, you might find vanilla, coconut notes from American oak whereas French oak gives more smoky, toasty aromas, Because oak is porous, controlled extra oxygen exposure can add more texture and complexity.

Malolactic fermentation

A second fermentation where malic acid is converted to softer, lactic acids. This results in a creamier, softer texture with less citrus acidity and more buttery, nutty flavours.

Lees stirring

The lees are dead yeast cells that are leftover from fermentation. Sometimes winemakers choose to leave these lees in the maturing wine for a while rather than filtering them straight out, and will give them a good stir to really get the flavours going. Expect to find rich, bready, yeasty complexity in white wines that have undergone this process.

Food Matching

Fatty meat: The weight and richness of the wine matches the character of the meat.

Creamy sauces: The creamy fatness of the wine's texture matches the fat and creaminess of the sauce. Simple as!

Smoked fish: Oaky character complements the smoky fish, whereas ripe, round fruit can provide a pleasing fresh contrast.

Rosie Allen

The Society's Brand Marketing Manager

Rosie Allen

Rosie joined the team in 2016 and oversees all our content including 1874 magazine and Discovery pages.

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