Body is the impression of a wines weight, density, or its ‘mouth-feel’. Some wines feel weighty, or full bodied, while others feel light bodied. Wine runs the gamut from light to full, with most falling somewhere in between.
Tannin can range greatly in wine, but it is necessary to some degree, and a necessary constituent for red wines to age well. In high amounts, it can cause a drying affect, which is sensed mostly on the gums and tongue. Tannin is a natural preservative extracted from grape skins, otherwise known as polyphenols that are micronutrients and antioxidants with potential health benefits.
Acidity is a foundational component in wine. In fact, low acidity, or ‘flabby’ wine (as the term suggests) is a negative. You can sense acidity mainly on the sides of your tongue. Acidity generally ranges from balanced to high. Crisp acidity adds freshness, making your mouth water. Acidity is a necessary element and helps to balance other components.
Most wines are characterized as dry to off-dry, but there are some grape varietals, like Riesling, that run the gamut from dry to sweet. The tip of the tongue mainly detects sweetness, which is why it is often the primary characteristic detected. Sweetness is derived from residual sugar that did not ferment into alcohol.
Alcohol is the by-product of fermentation. Differing grape varieties have differing potential alcohol levels, but regardless warmer areas result in riper grapes resulting in higher alcohol. Alcohol level is an objective number, but its affect on its palate impression is largely determined with how well integrated and balanced it is with other components.