Assessing Alcohol: Red Wines vs. Whites

QUESTION: Does red wine or white wine have more alcohol?

ANSWER: It depends on several factors. If you’re looking for a broad generality, red would be the answer.

But it really depends on the specific grape variety involved and the style preference of the winemaker. We’ve seen some California bottlings of Chardonnay that have alcohol levels that are higher than some red wines.

A wine’s alcohol level is determined, in part, by when the vintner decides to shut off the fermentation process.

A higher alcohol level can sometimes equate with a richer, more complex mouthfeel, but it may also lessen the wine’s long-term aging potential.

Another generality: the higher the alcohol, the less food-friendly a wine becomes, meaning it probably would be more enjoyable as a sipping wine.

Posted in Wine FAQ
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