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Have any of these ever happened to you?

  • You return home from work after a tiring day, with a good bottle of wine that you bought at a neighborhood store. You sit down with your newly purchased bottle of wine, hoping to get a good buzz and after that, a pleasant evening out of it. However, as you near the neck of the bottle, you start feeling nauseous and, having lost a good fraction of your senses, end up drinking more and getting hopelessly drunk and remembering your worst ex.
  • You confidently chug the free, pricey-looking booze from the bottle at a wedding and end up having to bail on your friends and lie on the bathroom floor for the rest of the day. 

If it has, then by now, you must know that even though wine is no absinthe, you have got to be more careful while consuming any since not all wines are the same. Here, we educate you to beware of these 6 high alcohol content wines in a comprehensive way. 

 

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High Alcohol Content Wines

Why does wine have such diverse alcohol content? Wine, as we all know, is made from grapes. The sweetness of grapes depends on the amount of time we wait before harvesting it. The alcohol content in wine depends on the amount of sugar present in the grapes used to make it.

Another factor that the alcohol content of wine depends on is the temperature at which it is produced. Cool places like Germany, France, New York, etc. produce less sweet varieties of wine which are lighter. Warmer places like Argentina, Australia, California, etc., on the other hand, provide sweeter and stronger types of wine. What ensues is a brief discussion that elucidates the stronger, sweeter and more vibrant wines. Be sure to also check out “How Many Grapes are Used for One Bottle of Wine?” to see the kind of grapes and how much goes into just one bottle of wine.

Medium-High Alcohol Content (13.5-14.5% ABV)

These, of course, are made from sweeter grapes from warmer climates. We recommend the blending of these wines with freshly pressed juices to make summer cocktails, instead of direct consumption. If at all you are consuming them without any mixers, make sure you have some heavy food to go with them. “Check out “What Wine Should I Drink With Cheese” to see what you could pair your bottle of wine with.

White High Alcohol Content Wines

Chardonnay from Australia, Chile, and California

They are sourced from green-skinned grapes and are generally white wines. It is an essential component of the international wine trade, as we all know from what we have heard of it. Chardonnay is often associated with an oaky flavor. 

It originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but has a broad base now, including areas like England and New Zealand, virtually any place that produces wine. They range from a crisp mineral variety to a fruity tropical variety.

In cold climates, the wine has an acidic flavor with hints of green plum, apple, and pear. The flavors become more citrus and have touches of peach and melon in warmer regions. In very hot locations the flavors are those of fig and tropical fruits like banana, mango, etc.

Take a look at “3 Amazing Wine and Orange Juice Drinks You Have to Try” for tips on how to mix your wine with juices to make excellent cocktails.

Pinot Gris from California

Also known as Pinot Grigio, the grapes from which these originate are close cousins of the Pinot Noir. These are, however, white wines. They are found in spicy or acidic varieties. It is also called the Grauburgunder.

The wines vary from a deep golden yellow to copper to a light shade of pink. The flavors range from ripe tropical fruit notes of melon and mango to botrytis influenced flavors. It is often harvested early to reduce the overt fruity flavor. Harvesting early also maintains its refreshing acidity.

Red High Alcohol Content Wines

Californian Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is another wine of the Pinot (Pine-structured clusters of grapes) variety. The grapes used to make it are black-skinned and susceptible to rots and therefore need to be carefully fermented. The thin skins and low phenolic content of the grapes ensure a low-tannin content wine. They, therefore, go through phases of uneven and unpredictable aging.

When young, the wine has red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries, and strawberries. As the wine is aged, it develops more complex vegetal and barnyard aromas which make the flavor of the wine more complex.

Italian Barolo

This much sought-after variety is produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. It is produced using the Nebbiolo grape that is rich in tannins, which is why it has a subtle tannic flavor to it. Italian Barolo is often described as Italy’s most magnificent wine. It is often described as having the aromas of tar and roses.

As they age, and they do so very well, they usually take on a rust red tinge. Barolo needs to be aged for at least 38 months post-harvest before release, of which 18 must be in wood(barrel). If they are subjected to at least five years of aging before release, the wine may be labeled as a Riserva. Check out more about the Italian Barolo in “List of Four Best Italian Table Wines“.

High Alcohol Content (14.5% and Above)

Naturally made wines rarely have such high alcohol content. The wines given below are, therefore, fortified, which means that they are made with the addition of distilled grape brandy, which increases their alcohol content. Want a bit more info on fortified wines? Check out “What is Fortified Wine?” for more.

California Zinfandel

These are robust red wines that have red-berry flavors (those that are produced in colder areas) or blackberry, anise and pepper flavors (those that are produced in warmer regions). In the US, however, White Zinfandel, a Rose wine has six times greater sales compared to the red, more luxurious version. The grape has an extremely high sugar content and can, therefore, be fermented into alcohol levels of more than 15%.

Spanish Sherry

Sherry is obtained from the Palomino grape. It ranges from light, white table wines to dark, oxidized wines to sweeter dessert wines. Since these wines are fortified post-fermentation, they are initially dry, and any sweetness sensed is due to the fortification of the original version. Like the sound of sweet wine? Take a look at “The Most Popular Sweet Wines” for options on picking out a sweeter wine.

As they are aged in barrels, they grow a layer of flora yeast-like growth, which prevents excessive oxidation of the wine. Before bottling Sherry, some very old wine might be blended into it using the Solera system.


Since you have now made acquaintances with these breathalyzer indicators…You may carefully go ahead and fill a quarter of your glass, after a tiring day, with any of these that you can afford. Hopefully, the situations elicited before all this information won’t have to arise for you again.

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