No doubt you’ve heard this one, especially if you subscribe to one of the large-format wine magazines, such as Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast. They review a lot of California Chardonnays, many of which may be described as “fat”.
For example, any of a number of white wines have this phrase in the notes: “… Round and fat with a long, butter- and honey-filled finish … ”
So what is meant by “fat” ? Luckily, it has nothing to do with your waistline. Generally, a wine that has a lot of fruit concentration but low acidity is often defined as being “fat”. If the acidity is so low it is displeasing, the wine may be called “flabby” or “insipid”.
Though a lot of New World Chardonnays are described as “fat”, those aren’t the only wines that need to go on a diet. For example, Condrieu and other big white wines from the Rhone Valley have been described as such. Further, fat wines are not relegated to whites; on occasion you may see the term used in a red wine review. As a general rule, fat wines come from very hot regions, and as such also tend to be overly ripe and have high alcohol levels as well.
Finally, fat wines are not necessarily bad; quite the contrary, in fact. Most often, “fat” is used to praise a wine’s generous fruit concentration, and is a complementary term to “mouthfilling”, “big”, or “round”.
And don’t worry — fat wines have about the same amount of calories as “thin” wines, and are assigned the same amount of points by Weight Watchers.