Describing a wine as 'soupy' is not intended to flatter, but how do things get to this point?

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What does it mean when a wine tastes ‘soupy’ – ask Decanter

‘When people say a wine is ‘soupy’, it’s never a good thing,’ said Matt Walls, DWWA regional chair for the Rhône and lead Rhône reviewer for Decanter Premium.

‘It refers to a wine – usually red – that’s very ripe and broad on the palate and which lacks tannic structure and freshness. Soupy wines lack drinkability and energy.’

What makes a wine soupy?

‘Temperature is a factor,’ said Walls.

‘Full-bodied red wines with high alcohol often take on something of this characteristic when served much too warm.’

There is sometimes confusion about the definition of ‘room temperature’ when it comes to serving red wines.

Decanter guide on the subject states, ‘For a red wine, much warmer than 18°C is too high; its flavours become blurred and soupy, its structure softens and alcohol becomes more noticeable.’

However, controlling the temperature is far from an exact science, even for sommeliers, as this discussion on serving temperature suggests.


At what temperature should I serve white wine? Ask Decanter


In the vineyard

Red wines from warmer climates have a higher risk of developing a ‘soupy’ quality, because there is a greater danger of the grapes ripening to the extent that too much acidity is lost.


More wine questions answered in our ‘ask Decanter’ series