Types Of Dessert Wines Classified As “Fortified”

Dessert wines are a special type of wine that offer an indulgent and sweet finish to any meal. These wines come in many varieties, but one particularly interesting category is the fortified dessert wines.

Fortified wines have had extra alcohol added to them for a richer flavor profile and higher alcohol content than traditional table-style wines. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of fortified dessert wines available, their unique characteristics, and how best to enjoy them.

These robustly flavored drinks can be enjoyed by themselves as after-dinner treats or paired with other desserts like cakes, pies, sorbets, or ice cream for a truly decadent experience. With such a wide variety of styles on offer, there’s sure to be something for everyone looking for an elevated way to end their evening.

We hope you join us as we delve into the world of fortified dessert wines!

Port Wine

Port wine is an age-old fortified dessert wine that has been enjoyed around the world for centuries. It’s a uniquely sweet and complex beverage with flavors ranging from tannic, smoky notes to hints of honey, dried fruit, and pepper. Its deep ruby color has captivated drinkers since its discovery in Portugal in the late 1500s, where it was originally made by blending white grapes with brandy.

The winemaking process used to create port wines involve stopping fermentation before all of the sugar is converted into alcohol. This results in a sweeter taste than traditional table wines and higher alcohol content as well.

Depending on how long it’s aged, port can come in many different styles such as Ruby Port, Tawny Port or Vintage Character Port. These unique styles allow consumers to explore a range of flavor profiles depending on their palate preference.

In addition to being a delicious after dinner drink, port wine also pairs nicely with savory foods like cheese platters or roasted pork dishes – making it great for entertaining guests during special occasions.

Whether you choose to enjoy some sipped slowly at home or share with friends over dinner, there’s no wrong way to appreciate this classic fortified dessert wine! Moving on from here we’ll take a look at Marsala Wine and what makes it distinct from other types of wines.

Marsala Wine

Marsala wine is a type of fortified dessert wine that originates in Sicily, Italy. It has an amber or golden brown hue with a pleasant aroma and flavor profile.

The production process involves harvesting grapes from the Palermo region, partially fermenting them to create a sweet syrup, fortifying them with alcohol such as brandy or eau de vie, and aging for at least two years in oak barrels.

Marsala wines can range from dry to sweet depending on how much sugar was added during fermentation. The most popular types of Marsala are Finos which are dry and Stravecchio which are sweeter.

The dry versions have a subtle nutty flavor while the sweeter varieties taste more like raisins, honey, and dried fruits. In addition to being used as a stand-alone drink, this type of wine also makes an excellent accompaniment to desserts such as ice cream and cakes.

For those looking for something bold yet complex enough to pair with food or simply enjoy by itself, Marsala wine is definitely worth considering. Its unique flavors make it perfect for sipping after dinner or adding depth and complexity to dishes like risotto alla milanese or tiramisu.

With its versatility and easy drinking nature, there’s no doubt that it will continue to be enjoyed for many years to come.

Moving on then – let us now explore madeira wine.

Madeira Wine

Madeira wine is a fortified dessert wine that originated in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira. It’s produced from several different grape varieties, including Sercial, Verdelho and Bual as well as Malmsey. The grapes are harvested early to ensure they don’t ripen too much before fermentation begins.

During production, Madeira is heated to temperatures between 122-176°F for up to 90 days. This process gives it its distinct flavor which combines sweetness with acidity and nuttiness.

The island of Madeira has long been known for its terroir, or soil quality and climate conditions that influence the taste of the wine produced there. Different styles of this wine can be enjoyed at any time throughout the meal due to how versatile it is – from dryer versions such as Rainwater or Sercial that pair perfectly with seafood dishes to sweeter options like Malmsey that go great with desserts.

It’s also quite popular outside of Portugal, particularly in America where it was introduced by settlers during colonial times who had brought barrels of wines back home with them when returning from their voyages. Its unique composition makes it an excellent addition to cocktails, giving them a sweet but complex note that sets them apart from other beverages.

With so many flavors available and various ways one can enjoy it, Madeira has become a favorite among all types of drinkers.

Transitioning seamlessly into the subsequent section on Sherry Wine…

Sherry Wine

Madeira Wine has a long and storied history, but there is another type of fortified dessert wine that has been around almost as long – Sherry Wine. This strong Spanish tipple is actually the oldest protected designation of origin in the world, having received its official title in 1933!

Here are four interesting facts about this delicious drink:

  1. It’s produced exclusively from white grapes grown within the provinces of Cádiz and Huelva in Spain’s Andalucía region.
  2. It falls into three different categories based on sweetness levels; fino (dry), oloroso (semi-sweet) or cream (very sweet).
  3. It can be aged for up to forty years before being bottled for sale.
  4. It pairs well with salty snacks like olives, almonds, nuts and cured meats such as jamon serrano or chorizo.

Sherry Wine may not have made quite as much fuss over the centuries as Madeira Wine, but it certainly deserves some recognition for its complexity and flavour profile – which only increases with age!

Onwards then to Vermouth Wine – an intriguingly flavoured concoction that’s sure to pique your interest…

Vermouth Wine

Vermouth is a type of fortified wine made from white or red grapes, herbs and spices. It has been produced since the 18th century in both Italy and France, though it originated in Italy.

The name vermouth comes from the German word for wormwood, which was traditionally used as one of its main ingredients. Vermouth can be either sweet or dry depending on how much sugar is added during production. Sweet vermouth usually contains anywhere between 15-30% alcohol by volume (ABV), while dry vermouth typically has 16-22%.

When producing sweet vermouth, producers will add an array of herbs such as chamomile, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander and orange peel to create complex aromas and flavors. For dry vermouths the same herbs may also be used but with less sugar added along with additional bittering agents like gentian root or quinine bark to give it a drier flavor profile.

These wines are often enjoyed straight up or over ice as an apéritif before dinner due to their low ABV levels. They can also be mixed into cocktails like martinis and Manhattans to provide complexity and balance out stronger spirits like gin or whiskey.

Vermouth is considered more diverse than other types of dessert wines because there are so many different styles that can range from light and floral notes to bold herbal ones. As a result, it makes an ideal accompaniment with food as well providing sophisticated flavor profiles without overwhelming the dish itself.

Whether served neat or incorporated into classic drinks recipes, this fortified wine offers something special for every palate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Shelf Life Of Fortified Wines?

Many people worry that fortified wines won’t last long once opened, but rest assured – they actually have a surprisingly lengthy shelf life!

Depending on the type of fortified wine and how it has been stored, you can expect your bottle to remain enjoyable for up to two months after opening.

This makes them an ideal choice for those who don’t want to feel rushed while enjoying their favorite dessert-style wines.

What Is The Difference Between A Fortified And An Unfortified Wine?

Fortified and unfortified wines are two distinct types of wine. Fortified wines have a higher alcohol content than regular wine, as they are blended with a distilled spirit such as brandy or port to increase the amount of alcohol in them.

Unfortified wines, on the other hand, contain only natural grape sugars that ferment into alcohol during the winemaking process. They both come in many varieties including reds, whites, rosés, ports and dessert wines like sherry and Madeira.

In general, fortified wines tend to last longer than their unfortified counterparts due to the added alcoholic content which prevents oxidation.

How Many Calories Are In A Fortified Wine?

Fortified wines are typically higher in calories than unfortified varieties, with an average of about 150 to 160 per 5-ounce glass.

The calorie content depends on the type and amount of sugar added during fortification and whether other sweeteners were used.

Dessert wines that have been fortified can contain up to 300 calories or more per 5 ounces.

What Is The Best Wine To Pair With Dessert?

When it comes to picking the best wine for dessert, there are a few options.

Port and Madeira are two types of fortified wines that pair well with desserts such as chocolate cake or rich custards.

For those looking for something lighter, Moscato d’Asti is an Italian sparkling wine made from Muscat grapes which has naturally sweet notes that can balance out sweeter treats like fruit tarts.

Sherry is another great option for pairing with desserts since its nutty flavor complements both savory and sweet dishes.

Can Fortified Wines Be Aged?

Fortified wines are an intriguing choice for those looking to age their wine; they can not only be stored, but also improve with age.

These wines have a higher alcohol content than most other varieties and usually come in sweet dessert styles like port, sherry, madeira, marsala and muscat.

While all fortified wines will benefit from aging, some may not develop as well due to the high sugar content or level of tannins present.

As such, it’s important to do your research beforehand and select bottles that are designed specifically for long-term storage.


Fortified wines are a delicious way to enjoy your favorite dessert even more! With the right pairing, these wines can make each bite more enjoyable.

I love how their sweetness lingers just enough on my tongue so that it’s not overwhelming but still satisfying. Plus, with a longer shelf life than unfortified wines, you can keep them around for a while and really savor the experience.

Whether it’s an after dinner treat or a special occasion indulgence, fortified wine is sure to impress. So grab some bottles of your favorites and get ready for a luxurious night in – cheers!

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