Fortified wine is a type of wine that has had a distilled spirit, such as brandy, added to it. The process of fortification increases the alcohol content of the wine and gives it a unique flavor and aroma. Some popular types of fortified wine include Sherry, Port, Madeira, Marsala, and Vermouth, read on for more of an explaination of these types:
- Sherry is a fortified wine that is produced in the Jerez region of Spain. It is made from a blend of white grapes, such as Palomino, and is aged in barrels using a unique aging method called "solera." Sherry can range in style from dry to sweet and can have nutty and caramelized flavors.
- Port is a fortified wine that is produced in the Douro Valley region of Portugal. It is made from a blend of red grapes, such as Touriga Nacional, and is aged in barrels. Port is known for its rich, fruity flavor and can range in sweetness from dry to very sweet.
- Madeira is a fortified wine that is produced in the Madeira Islands of Portugal. It is made from a blend of white grapes, such as Sercial, and is aged in barrels using a unique aging method called "estufagem." Madeira has a rich and nutty flavor and can range in sweetness from dry to very sweet.
- Marsala is a fortified wine that is produced in the Marsala region of Italy. It is made from a blend of white or red grapes and is aged in barrels. Marsala has a rich and sweet flavor and is often used in cooking.
- Vermouth is a fortified wine that is flavored with botanicals, such as herbs, spices and roots. It is produced in many countries, and it can be dry or sweet. It is usually consumed as an aperitif or cocktail ingredient.
To make fortified wine, a distilled spirit, such as brandy, is added to the wine while it is still fermenting. This stops the fermentation process and increases the alcohol content of the wine. The wine is then aged in barrels, which can give it a unique flavor and aroma. Fortified wines typically have an alcohol content of around 18-22%, which is higher than most table wines which usually range between 11-14%.
The taste of fortified wine can vary depending on the type and the aging process. Sherry, for example, can range from dry to sweet and nutty, while Port can be rich and fruity with a slightly sweet taste. Fortified wines can be enjoyed as aperitifs, after-dinner drinks or paired with desserts.
Some fortified wines have a long history and traditional production methods, such as Sherry and Port, while others like Vermouth, have become more popular in recent years as a cocktail ingredient.