Fortified wine offers a unique taste and is often used in cocktails or as an after-dinner drink. Many brands of fortified wines are available, so it can be difficult to decide which one is best suited for your needs.
In this article, we’ll explore the top brands of fortified wine and discuss why they’re some of the most popular choices on the market today. Whether you’re looking for something sweet like port or something that’s more dry like sherry, there’s sure to be a brand of fortified wine that fits your palate just right.
We’ll go over what makes each type special, as well as giving our recommendations for the very best options out there. So if you’re looking for a delicious way to relax at home or entertain guests, read on!
- 1 Port
- 2 Sherry
- 3 Madeira
- 4 Marsala
- 5 Vermouth
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 Conclusion
Port is a fortified wine that originated in Portugal, and has been produced for centuries. It is made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley of Northern Portugal, then aged in wooden barrels or casks until it’s ready to be bottled.
Port wines are usually sweet or semi-sweet and have an intense flavor with aromas of dark fruit like blackberry, plum, and fig. They range from dryer styles to sweeter dessert wines.
A glass of port is perfect after dinner as it helps to relax your palate and end the meal on a sweet note. With its rich history and unique flavors, port is one of the best brands of fortified wine available today.
As such, it can easily become part of any special occasion or simply enjoyed on its own during moments of relaxation.
Moving forward, sherry offers yet another option for enjoying this type of wine.
I’m sure we all know that Sherry is a type of fortified wine, but do you know what the different types are?
Let’s start by talking about the production process, and then we can move on to the different varieties of sherry.
I’m sure it’s different from other types of wines, so it’d be good to go over that for sure.
We could finish off by discussing the best brands of sherry and why they’re so great.
Types Of Sherry
When it comes to fortified wines, sherry is one of the oldest and most popular. There are many types of this delicious drink ranging from dry to sweet depending on what you prefer. Knowing which type best suits your tastes can be daunting but here we’ll go over some basics so that you can narrow down your choices.
Fino is a very dry variety made with Palomino grapes grown in Jerez region of Spain. Its light, delicate flavor makes it an ideal accompaniment to seafood dishes or as an aperitif before dinner.
Amontillado has been aged longer than Fino and has a nutty flavor. It’s great for pairing with cheese plates or enjoyed neat after dinner as a digestif.
Manzanilla is similar to Fino but sharper and saltier due to its proximity to the ocean during aging process; it pairs well with tapas or other Spanish cuisine such as paella.
For those who enjoy something sweeter, Oloroso Sherry would make an excellent choice. This variety uses Pedro Ximenez grapes creating a rich, dark color and robust taste that stands up well against blue cheeses or even dessert dishes like crème brûlée.
Cream Sherry offers a unique blend – half Fino and half Pedro Ximenez – resulting in quite the flavorful combination that’s perfect for enjoying solo or alongside spicy foods like chorizo tacos!
No matter what style you choose, there’s sure to be something delightfully delicious waiting for you when exploring all the different types of sherry available today!
To understand how sherry is made, we have to look at the production process.
Sherry begins with Palomino grapes grown in Jerez region of Spain and then is aged for a minimum of six months. The aging happens either by exposing it to the air or storing it in barrels – both methods will produce different flavor profiles. For example, if left exposed to oxygen, you’ll get a nuttier flavor than what’s obtained when stored in barrels.
Then, depending on which type of sherry you’re making (Fino, Amontillado, Manzanilla etc.), additional ingredients such as Pedro Ximenez grapes may be added resulting in a sweeter taste.
Finally, after all these steps are complete, the fortified wines can be bottled and shipped off to stores and restaurants where they can enjoyed around the world!
Madeira is a fortified wine from the Madeira Islands, off the coast of Portugal. It has been around for centuries and continues to be enjoyed by many people today due to its complexity and unique flavor profile.
The most common types of Madeira are Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malmsey, and Moscatel. Each type differs in color, sweetness levels and flavors which include nutty aromas or tropical fruit tastes depending on the grapes used.
Madeira can range greatly in price but it’s worth investing in one that fits your budget if you want to experience this classic tipple at its best:
Blandy’s Alvada 5 Year Old Dry White – A dry white with citrus fruits, nuts and a hint of gingerbread spices.
Broadbent 10 Year Old Reserve Medium Sweet – Perfectly balanced between sweet and acidic notes plus hints of honeyed lemon peel.
Justino’s Colheita 1986 – Rich caramelized applesauce aromas give way to a mellow palate filled with walnut oil nuances.
Quinta do Pôpa 15 Years old Velvet Cream – An intense nose full of dried figs combined with raisins leads into a creamy texture carrying wood-smoked almonds.
High quality Madeiras have good aging potential so buying older bottles will allow you to sample more complex flavours over time as they mature further in bottle.
With such an array of styles available there is something to please everyone; whether you prefer drier wines or those packed full of dessert-like flavour components – looking out for these labels is always worthwhile!
Onwards to marsala now…
Mentioned in the previous section, Madeira is one of the best brands of fortified wine. It originates from a Portuguese island located off the North African coast and is made with grapes that have been dried by sun exposure or heated air before fermentation. This process gives it a unique flavor profile as well as higher alcohol content.
Now we move on to Marsala, another type of fortified wine originating from Sicily, Italy. Marsala has an amber-copper color to it and is characterized by sweet notes such as raisins, figs and prunes along with herbs and spices like cinnamon, clove and ginger. Its aroma can be described as intense yet delicate at the same time due its blend of fruity flavors tempered by woody elements brought out during aging – usually up to three years in oak barrels.
The production of Marsala involves two processes: fermentation where yeast converts sugars into alcohol; followed by fortification when grape spirits are added to increase the alcohol level even further after which it’s aged for an extended period of time. The result is a complex yet balanced drink that pairs nicely with food due to its sweetness and can also be used in cooking recipes requiring a delicious base ingredient.
With that said, let us now explore vermouth – another classic fortified wine…
Vermouth is the king of fortified wines, reigning for centuries as a staple in cocktails and meals. It’s like a crown atop its peers – adorning every glass with a regal presence that no other wine can match.
Vermouths come in two varieties: sweet (or red vermouth) and dry (white). Sweet vermouth has been made since ancient times, while dry vermouth came later. Both are aromatic fortified wines obtained by distilling white wine with various herbs and spices such as cardamom, coriander, chamomile, nutmeg and cinchona bark to give it its herbal character.
Sweet vermouth has a deep ruby colour, an intense aroma of woody herbs and dried fruits such as figs or dates, and a rich sweetness from added sugar syrup. On the palate it is velvety yet complex due to the bitters used during production. Its flavour profile ranges from spiciness to honey-like sweetness depending on the type of sweetener used.
Dry vermouth contains fewer calories than sweet because it does not have any added sugar but instead relies on bitterness from quinine infused into the mix. It is clear in appearance with aromas of flowers and citrus fruit along with some light herby notes; taste wise it offers tartness balanced out by hints of vanilla or almond flavours coming through when sipped neat.
When making classic drinks like martinis or Manhattans, both styles of vermouth offer versatility allowing bartenders to craft unique concoctions that tantalise palates around the world.
So raise your glasses high to toast this special fortified wine that brings life to social gatherings everywhere!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between Fortified And Non-Fortified Wines?
Fortified wines are produced by adding distilled grape spirits, such as brandy, to the wine. This increases the alcohol content of the wine and also alters its flavor profile.
Non-fortified wines do not have any additional spirits added during their production process, therefore their alcohol content is lower than fortified wines.
Fortified wines tend to be sweet or semi-sweet in nature due to the addition of sugar or other sweetening agents, while non-fortified wines can range from dry to sweet depending on how much residual sugar remains after fermentation.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Consuming Fortified Wines?
Fortified wines are a type of alcoholic beverage that have had distilled spirits such as brandy added to them, which increases their alcohol content.
While many people consume fortified wines for their flavor and aroma, there may also be some health benefits associated with drinking them in moderation.
Fortified wines contain antioxidants, can help reduce the risk of heart disease, and may even aid in improving cognitive function.
However, it is important to note that consuming too much of these beverages can lead to negative consequences so be sure to drink responsibly.
What Is The Best Way To Serve Fortified Wines?
Serving fortified wines is an art form all its own.
With the right presentation, these beverages can be transformed into an exquisite experience that even connoisseurs will savor.
To bring out their full flavor and aroma, they should ideally be served slightly chilled in a tulip glass or goblet, which allows for maximum aromatics on the nose.
The temperature of the wine should also not exceed room temperature; this ensures that all of its complexities are enjoyed to the fullest extent.
How Long Do Fortified Wines Last Once Opened?
Once opened, fortified wines last longer than their non-fortified counterparts.
Generally speaking, you can expect an open bottle of a fortified wine to stay good for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
Of course, this depends on how well sealed it is and whether any air has been allowed into the bottle as oxidation will occur and spoil the taste over time.
What Is The Alcohol Content Of Fortified Wines?
Fortified wines are like a powerhouse of alcohol, packing a punch with every sip. Their high-alcohol content is what sets them apart from other types of wine, ranging anywhere between 15 and 22 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). Depending on the type and brand you choose, some fortified wines may even contain up to 40 percent ABV!
No matter which bottle you pick up, it’s important to know that these boozy bottles can last for months once opened – if stored properly.
It’s clear that fortified wines offer a unique taste and experience, as well as health benefits.
So it’s worth exploring the various brands available to find out which one is right for you.
With such an array of options, I’m sure you’ll be able to discover a fortified wine that suits your preferences – from sweet ports to savoury sherries!
Whether you’re looking for something special for a dinner party or just wanting to relax with a glass after work, there are plenty of excellent brands on offer.
It’s time we all take advantage of this delicious type of wine and enjoy its many benefits!