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A couple of years ago, I tasted a wine from Napa which shall remain nameless and which had a relentlessly high alcohol of 15.8%. Not only did this level of alcohol cause the wine to be out of balance, it's dangerously high: a glass, let alone a bottle, would get you drunk. The wine was borne out of the trend in the late 1990s and 2000s for high-alcohol wines. The grapes are left on the vine for a long time to build up sugar levels, in the belief that it results in more flavor in the wine. Some producers and...

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