Wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. You will find local brands of wine in most countries and then some very resonant global brands that became famous all over the planet.
The alcoholic content in different types of wine differs, though. You will find that most wines come with an ABV of 10% to 13% but you can find such a classic alcoholic beverage with a higher ABV.
For a wine to be considered a high-alcohol beverage, it needs to be above 14% ABV. High alcoholic wines are many such as Most Shiraz, Muscat, or Sherry.
Keep reading to find out the best wines in the world that come with an ABV which is above the average for such a beverage.
Best wines with the highest alcohol content
The following wines are above the 14% ABV limit to be considered some of the strongest in the world. They are truly exquisite drinks that you will not regret trying and you might even find a few of them that you keep as your favorite beverages!
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Shiraz is an Australian wine with an ABV that varies from 14% to 15%. This wine is primarily red obtained from Shiraz grapes that are grown in most Australian vineyards.
In 2015, Australia had over 40,000 Ha of Shiraz grapes, which supported its incredible red wine production.
The only country with more Shiraz grapes production was France with over 60,000 Ha. These wines are typically dry but you can find some varieties with more sweetness in them.
Enjoy your Shiraz glass of wine with lean meat and steaks. This wine typically goes great with spicy foods.
2. Red Zinfandels
Red Zinfandels are also considered strong wines, with an ABV between 14% and 15.5%. These wines are made of a strain of black grapes known as Zinfandel.
This type of grape is cultivated in more than 10% of vineyards in California as well as other parts of the world. The Red Zinfandels can be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet so there is a variety of these wines for every taste.
Such a wine would go best with spicy Indian food!
3. Late Harvest Dessert Wine
Another type of wine that comes at a high ABV of 15% to 17% is the Late Harvest Dessert wine. These wines are exactly what their name says: late harvest wines.
The more grapes are allowed to mature on the vine, the sweeter they get. These wines can be made from any grapes that are left to grow on the vine a bit longer and they tend to make some of the sweetest and most delicious wines.
Pair a Late Harvest Dessert Wine with a light meal or even with a sweet dessert as their name suggests.
Muscat wines are some of the most popular wines with a high alcohol content that you will find worldwide. This is also a late-harvest wine with a mild to a high level of sweetness and an ABV of 15% on average. Muscat wines have complex aromas that include notes of apricots, orange blossoms, and even roses.
You can pair this wine with almost any type of dinner and it will be just the right touch!
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If you want a dry wine with an ABV above average, you have to try a Sherry. These wines have an ABV between 15% and 20% and they are very popular due to their intense aroma and flavor.
They are fortified wines made out of delicious white grapes from Andalusia, Spain. There are several varieties of Sherry wines but some common notes you will find in most of them are mushroom, jackfruit, and lemon or orange.
Sherry wines go best with fish and lean meat but you can also enjoy a glass after your dinner or with your favorite dessert.
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Port wines are sweet and perfect for desserts but they also have a high ABV of 20%, so consume them in moderation.
Being such a delicious wine, most people prefer to have it plain as it comes with an intense and satisfying taste. This wine is produced through the traditional method of grape stomping.
Enjoy your Port wine with cheese or your favorite dessert and you will keep craving it on your table.
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Madeira is also a high alcohol wine with an ABV of 20%. This wine gets its name after the Madeira island from Portugal.
You will enjoy this wine mostly as a dessert wine since it is known for its sweetness and complex flavor. As soon as you sip from it, you will identify flavors of vanilla, caramel, peach, orange, and even hazelnuts.
Sip from a Madeira wine over dessert or your selection of favorite cheese and you will fall in love with its exquisite flavor as well.
Another high ABV wine is Marsala with 20% alcohol content. This wine comes from Sicily and you can find it in sweet and dry versions.
You can enjoy it by sipping from it or using it in different cooked dishes. Marsala is one of the best wines for cooking if the high ABV is not bothering you or your guests. This wine is commonly used in making sauces and the famous chicken marsala.
You can find Marsala in three different colors such as amber, gold, and red, depending on the grapes used to make it. The flavor of this wine includes notes of apricot, tamarind, and vanilla or brown sugar.
Banyuls is a French wine with an ABV of 20% and an extremely inviting flavor. It is a fortified wine made mainly of Grenache Blanc grapes.
When you sip from your Banyuls glass, you will notice notes of strawberry, prune, dark chocolate, mint, and an overall earthly flavor. It is a very sweet, full-body wine that will go great with desserts but also with a light lunch or dinner.
The red Banyuls also labeled as the Traditionelle version of this wine go perfectly with chocolate desserts.
10. Fortified wines
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The general definition of fortified wines is that they contain added alcohol to increase their ABV in other ways rather than by using the traditional wine-making process from grapes.
These wines can come at ABV levels from 14% to 20%, in the rarest cases.
Muscat of Samos for instance is a delicious fortified wine with an ABV of 15%. It is made of Muscat Blanc grapes and it tastes like apricot, honey, pineapple, orange blossom, and sweet mango.
Most fortified wines, especially the sweet ones go great with desserts and sharp cheeses.
What is the highest alcohol content in wine?
When it comes to wine, you will mostly find it with an ABV below 14%. There are medium-high alcohol wines that are at 14% to 15.5% and there are wines with the highest ABV which is 20%.
You will find the 20% ABV content mostly in red wines that are fortified but there are also a few white ones that can match these standards.
Which wine gets you drunk the fastest?
If you want to get a bit floaty from just one glass of wine, you will want to enjoy a wine with a high ABV. Naturally, a 20% alcohol content wine will get you in a bright mood rather fast.
But it is important to note that you have to consume such wines with responsibility and in moderation.
They can have a sweet and inviting flavor and aroma so you might lose track of the number of glasses you have before you know it.
Among the wines that are sure to get you drunk without having to enjoy several glasses of them, there are Banyuls, Marsala, Madeira, and Port. Depending on your location, you will find some brands easier than others and the prices might differ as well.
What are the strongest types of wine?
You will notice that red and white wines that are not sparkling, are the strongest kinds of wine in terms of ABV concentration. If the label says that they are fortified it is even better as fortified wines tend to have the highest ABV.
If you are looking for specific brands of wine that are also considered the strongest, you can choose a Zinfandel wine, Shiraz, Muscat, Sherry, and others that you will find in the list above as well.
Cheapest wine with the highest alcohol content
The fact that wine comes with a high alcohol content doesn’t necessarily mean it is extremely expensive too. Some wines come at premium prices but there are also wines with a satisfying ABV that is affordable and easy to find.
For instance, The Original Smoking Loon is a Zinfandel with an ABV of 14% that comes for $7.99 per bottle and it is fairly easy to find in stores.
It has a great aroma with fruity notes and can be paired with steaks as well as different other dishes since it is a highly versatile wine.
If you are willing to get a wine with a medium-high ABV, you can get a bottle of Merlot for only $5.00. This wine has an alcohol content of 13.5% and it is also easy to find in most grocery stores and liquor stores.
Merlot wine is dry and has inviting notes of raspberry, blackberry, vanilla, and mocha that you will love with your steak.
As for the stronger wines like those in our list, you can find a Marsala of 17% to 20% ABV for around $12.00 even online. Shiraz wines can also go from $8.00 to $10.00 and they have an ABV of 14% to 15%.
Ultimately, you will be able to find a strong wine on a budget that you are comfortable with since there are plenty of options to choose from.
Sweetest wine with the highest alcohol content
Sweet wines remain some of the most popular types as they go great plain or with desserts and light dinners. They are enjoyed by beginners thanks to their pleasant aroma and flavor.
And some of these sweet wines also come with a considerable ABV content which makes them even more appreciated.
However, if we had to choose the sweetest wine with the highest ABV content, we will have to settle for the French wine Banyuls.
It is not only a very sweet wine but it also has notes of chocolate that pair perfectly with desserts. And the alcohol content of 20% will not disappoint you either.
Grocery store wine with high alcohol content
The wine that you will find in grocery stores usually comes at an ABV of up to 14%. With that being said, the chances of finding a 20% wine at your local grocery store are slim.
But you can still find some great options even if they will have a lower ABV than the strongest wines in the world.
A common wine in supermarkets is Cabernet Sauvignon, with an ABV of 13% and a price that can be as low as $4.49.
This is a dry wine so you shouldn’t expect much sweetness from it. But it has interesting flavors of fruits and nuts but also a high level of tannins. It is one of those wines that go great with a satisfying dinner and enjoyable conversation.
Another wine that you can find in grocery stores at an ABV of 12% is Pinot Grigio, for a fair price of $4.49. It is a white wine that pairs great with fish and lean meat but also with grapes and cheese.
You can also find Chardonnay with an ABV of 13.7% for $5.00 and with how popular Chardonnay wines are you will not go wrong.
A common version of Chardonnay that you will find with this ABV is the Beringer and it pairs well with any kind of meal and even with snacks of your choice and a good conversation.
Red wine with the highest alcohol content
When we talk about red wines with the highest alcohol content we have to start with Zinfandel wines. This full-body wine will charm you from the first sip. It typically comes at an ABV of 14% to 15% and it is fairly easy to find in most parts of the world.
But besides Zinfandel, another great red wine with an ABV of 14% to 15% is Shiraz, which you will also find in the list above.
Marsala, which is a wine of 20% ABV comes in both red and white versions so you can purchase it according to your preferences. And you will love that this wine is a great ingredient in your dishes too.
You can’t go wrong with any of these red wines and you will most likely find your favorite.
White wine with the highest alcohol content
Most brands that make high alcohol content red wines also make a version of white wines such as Marsala or Madeira.
These wines can complement meals with lean meat, barbecue, and fish but they can be great by themselves as well or with some cheese.
Muscat and Sherry wines can also be found in white versions and even if they have a high ABV, they are not as high as 20%. So, for beginners, a Sherry might be preferable rather than a Madeira for instance.
Choosing a white wine with strong alcohol content is going to impact your entire dinner so make sure you go for a brand that you like.
The aroma and the flavor of the wine can also be extremely important in your overall experience. White wines tend to be considered day wines so you will notice that most people prefer to serve them at lunch or any time before dinner.
But feel free to enjoy your favorite white wine any time you want as long as you consume it responsibly.
Wine is not usually considered a high alcohol drink. Most people like to drink wine for its intense aroma and great history as it is one of the first alcoholic beverages in most cultures.
But if you always felt the need to enjoy a stronger glass of wine than your usual grocery store beverage, you can always try one of the options in this guide.
Keep in mind that the aroma and the taste of your wine will contribute significantly to its overall quality and the experience you can expect from it.
There are sweet wines that might come at an alcohol content of 20% but you will not perceive them as being so strong due to their high level of sweetness.
There are also dry wines that come at a lower ABV but they seem to be stronger due to their intense taste and well-defined aroma.
Ultimately, you will have to establish what wine is strong enough for your preferences and what type of flavor you enjoy the most because the options are out there and you will find the ones that satisfy you the most.
Pair your wine with the best type of meal for it so you can make the most out of its quality!