Red, Hot and Flabby

Wine is hotter than ever, in more ways than one. Sales are at an all time high, but at the same time alcohol levels are rising. Hot is winespeak for wine that is too high in alcohol and leaves a burning sensation in the back of the throat when swallowed. Back In the 1970s, red wines under 12 percent alcohol by volume were common. Today, Zinfandels higher than 16 percent are not unusual. Consumers seem to accept, even expect high-alcohol wines (many also believe this is due to the influence of wine critic Robert Parker). Is this a problem? Besides the effects of consuming more alcohol and calories in one serving, another consequence of high alcohol wine is often low acidity and a lack of structure, or in winespeak a flabby wine.

Click here for more information on the high-alcohol wine trend and its effect on wine balance.


  1. There was a winemaker in Chateauneuf-du-Pape (quite alcoholic wines, thanks to Grenache) who said that its ridiculous for people to fret about that extra bit of alcohol … unless you’re drinking bottles of the stuff you’re unlikely to notice much of a difference (especially if you’re drinking with food and over a long period of time – like the French do).

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