What is a Flabby Wine?

I was recently asked what a flabby wine was. Needless to say this is a loaded question but let me try to summarize it.

Flabby is a negative term typically used to describe a wine with low acidity and high PH resulting in an unbalanced wine that is not very enjoyable. However I would like to add a bit more context and dimension.

Aside from its [the wine] nuances – specific to the Vineyard and winemaker – a wine (and its varietal) has a certain profile of generally expressed characteristics. Think, tannin, acid, fruit (berry, plum, etc), terroir, and such. When the expression of these characteristics fall far short and out of balance of the expected and/or combine to create a noticeably unremarkable experience on the palate, the wine is often described as flabby.

It is a very noticeable if not glaring lack of intensity (zest) within the wine. A lack of dimension. An absence of complexity. This is usually a sign that the winemaker was trying too hard. That is, tinkering, altering with or grossly overcompensating for some characteristic(s) within the wine such that little dimension is left. This can also be as a result of the grapes not being great to begin with.

I’ve made an extremely flabby wine before. It is so painfully underwhelming. Which is why it boggles the mind why anyone would actually bottle a flabby wine and expect it to sell.

Nonetheless I hope this has helped advance your application for a good wine. Here is an exercise in extreme contrasts for you:

Stop by the gas station and pick up the cheapest Merlot or Pinot Noir you can find ($2-5). Then stop by a reputable wine store/shop and pick up a Bordeaux from Margaux, 2012 (7 years) or older ($40-100). Take them home and do a side-by-side tasting to experience first hand what a flabby wine tastes like… LOL.

2 Replies to “What is a Flabby Wine?”

    1. Haha sadly yes, folks with more money than brains have pushed the average price of a Margaux into ridiculous territory. However, a savvy shopper can still find a decent Margaux (albeit young) in the $40-something dollar range. The key is to search just after a new vintage is released. Right now 2016 and 2017 vintages are popping up. I just picked up some Chateau Margaux, Giscours, and Prieure-Lichine for around that price range. Now just let them lay down for another decade or so. 😅🍷


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