THE RISE of mighty merlots, stonking sauvignons and potent pinots has been a defining feature of our recent love affair with wine. And as the taste has got ever bigger so too has the alcohol. New research has revealed the modern breed of wine is even more powerful than is claimed on the label.
A study carried out for the American Association of Wine Economists found growers routinely understated the alcohol content of their wine to appeal to consumers' tastes for "more intense, riper flavours". With some brands now boasting 15 or even 16pc alcohol by volume, varieties from New World producers in Australasia and the Americas -- where the hotter climate produces stronger wines -- had to mark down their product to make it appear weaker than European wines.
The authors found label claims on average understated the true alcohol content of Old World wines from Europe by 0.39pc; and New World wines by an average of 0.45pc. Each extra percentage point of alcohol in a drink corresponds to an additional 0.8 units per bottle -- the equivalent of 20pc of the recommended safe drinking daily levels for men. (© Independent News Service)