This constituent of wine is a natural by-product of fermentation. It is one of the main pillars of perceived flavour, the others being “Acid”, “residual Sugar” (and/or “Glycerin”) and “Tannin”. The presence of these components define a wine that has “good balance”. For tablewines the wine label must, by law, state the alcohol content of the wine within the bottle, usually expressed as a percentage of the volume. Table wines do not usually exceed 14 percent alcohol content – (11 percent to 12.5 percent is generally considered the optimum amount) – although a few, such as the “jaune vin” of the Jura region of France are fermented in a special manner to attain consistently higher levels in the 14.5 to 15.5 percent range. Sweet dessert wines fall in the same range. Fortified wines – (eg: Sherry, Port etc) – range from 17 percent to 21 percent alcohol content.
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