Wines with high alcohol content - The best wine reviews (2023)


When it comes to wine, there are many different styles and types to choose from. But what about the alcohol content? Believe it or not, the alcohol content of wine can vary greatly. In this blog post, we're going to take a look at high alcohol wines. We'll discuss which types of wines tend to be high in alcohol, as well as some of the pros and cons of drinking these types of wines.

Although it doesn't seem like it, wine has become increasingly alcoholic over the past two decades.The average alcohol content of wines from New World producers increased from 12% to 15%, with some winemakers producing wines with an alcohol content of nearly 20% by volume.

For comparison, beer usually contains 4-6% alcohol, while vodka is a whopping 40%.

Discover the unique process of making high alcohol wine

For those new to the discussion, here's a little more background - as grapes grow on their vines, they gradually collect sugar. Grapes grown in cooler climates have less sugar and typically produce more acidic wines with lower alcohol levels. In contrast, grapes grown in warmer climates produce full-bodied, fruity wines. The longer the grapes remain on the vine, the higher the sugar content.

However, there is a downside. The yeast used during fermentation is alive and will only live for so long - no matter how sweet the grapes are. Most natural yeasts die at around 13-15% alcohol. This inhibits your ability to convert sugar into alcohol. If a winemaker wants to make a wine with a high alcohol content, he must use methods other than natural fermentation.

Wines with high alcohol content - The best wine reviews (1)

If you're looking to add a little extra "kick" to your wine, here are some ways to boost the alcohol content.

In general, there are two ways to make a strong wine: fortifying it or letting it ferment (naturally). The strongest wines always use the first method.


There are two methods of making fortified wine - adding a distillate to the wine during fermentation or killing the yeast early. In the United States, grape-based spirits such as brandy are used. The later you add the spirit for processing, the drier it will be. The earlier addition of higher alcohols kills the yeast and leaves a sweeter final product because sugar remains in the grape juice.

natural method

If winemakers want to create an alcohol-rich wine that still tastes good, they must go through additional steps in the natural process. Experts refer to this as "taming" or balancing the flavor of the wine.

As mentioned earlier, yeast was bred (no pun intended) to survive in environments with up to 13% ABV (alcohol by volume). If the percentage exceeds this amount, the yeast will die and the sugar will no longer convert to alcohol. We've recently been able to develop yeast that can live in ranges of around 20%, although these are few and far between - in general, any winemaker who manages to get 16% out of their process should be lucky.

Keeping the balance between the alcohol content and the flavor of the wine is the key to "taming" it. To enhance flavor, winemakers typically use more grapes and/or other fruit per bottle than they normally would - perhaps 3 to 5 pounds instead of 2 or 3. However, there's not much else they can do (until where we know). , as many wineries like to keep their methods a secret. We can only assume that some laboratories are involved in obtaining the perfect drink.

Types of wine with high alcohol content

There are a few different types of wine that tend to be high in alcohol. These include red wines, dessert wines and fortified wines. Let's get to know each type better:

red wines: red winesare made from dark grapes that have been fermented with skins. Grape skins contain high levels of tannins, which give red wines their characteristic dry, astringent taste. Red wines also tend to have a higher alcohol content than white wines.

dessert wines:Dessert wines are sweet, full-bodied wines that are usually served after a meal. These types of wine are made by allowing the grapes to over-ripe on the vine or by stopping the fermentation process prematurely so that some residual sugar is left in the wine. Dessert wines tend to have very high alcohol levels, often above 15% ABV.

fortified wines:Fortified wines are made by adding a distilled alcohol, such as brandy, to wine. This fortification process raises the alcohol content of the wine, usually to 15% ABV or higher. Fortified wines include popular styles like port and sherry.

Benefits of drinking wines with a high alcohol content

Drinking wines with a high alcohol content has some advantages. First, these types of wine tend to have stronger aromas and flavors than low-alcohol wines. This is because the higher alcohol content helps extract more flavor from the grapes during fermentation. Second, high-alcohol wine can help you feel full faster, which is great if you're trying to control your weight. Finally, many people believe that high alcohol wine has health benefits such as: B. improved heart health and increased cognitive function.

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Disadvantages of drinking wines with a high alcohol content

Of course, there are also some downsides to drinking high alcohol wine. In the first place is the risk of alcohol poisoning. As these types of wine are very high in alcohol, it's important to drink them in moderation and be mindful of your limits. Also, high alcohol wine can cause dehydration and headaches if you drink it too quickly. Finally, pairing these types of wines with food can be difficult, as their strong flavors can overwhelm delicate dishes.

Wines with higher alcohol content

Wines with higher alcohol content come from warmer climates. Sunlight and heat allow more sugars to develop in the vines, allowing growers to harvest them when they are most mature. The amount of sugar in the grapes is correlated with the alcohol content of the wine.

  • Wines from sunny California are typically ripe and full-bodied due to the state's long, warm days. These characteristics often lead to higher alcohol levels in Californian wines, which can be as high as 15%. Some of the most popular types of California wine areCabernet-Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petit Sirah eChardonnay.
  • Wines produced in the sunny south of France are often high in alcohol, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the mixed reds of Languedoc and Rousillon.
  • Amarone Della Valpolicella is an Italian wine made drywhite wine grapesdried in the sun after harvesting. This drying process concentrates the sugar and produces a dry wine of up to 16% ABV.
  • The rest of the world's high alcohol wines are fortified and contain spirits. These types of wine range from Marsalas in Sicily to aged Ports and Madeiras in Portugal and various types of dry or sweet sherry from Jerez in Spain. The lightest drink would be a Fino at 15% ABV, while the richest would be a Pedro Ximénez Sherry at 25% ABV.

final thoughts

High-alcohol wines can be delicious and full-bodied – but they should be consumed in moderation due to their potential risks. Whether you're looking for a full-bodied red wine or a sweet dessert wine, look for labels that state the wine's alcohol content by volume (ABV). And when in doubt, always play it safe when it comes to how much you drink!


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