The word "fortified" when used to describe wine often refers to a wine that has been sweetened and sometimes contains a spirit, like sherry or port, added. For example, in the case of Port, fruit juice is added to the wine to give it its signature flavour.
What is fortified wine?
Fortified wine is a type of wine that has had additional alcohol added to it. This can be done for a variety of reasons, including increasing the shelf life of the wine or making it more potent. Fortified wines are often sweeter and higher in alcohol content than regular wines.
The History of Fortified Wine
Fortified wine is a wine that has had its alcohol content increased by the addition of a distilled spirit. The most common spirit used for this purpose is brandy, but other spirits, such as rum, whisky, and even gin, can be used. The fortification process can occur before or after fermentation, and the resulting wine can range in strength from 15% to 22% alcohol by volume.
Fortified wines have a long history, dating back to the days of ancient Rome. In those days, it was common to add herbs and spices to wine in order to make it more palatable and increase its shelf life. This practice eventually led to the development of fortified wines, which were particularly popular in the Mediterranean region.
During the Middle Ages, fortified wines were often used as medicinal preparations, and they remained popular for this purpose into the early 20th century. In more recent years, fortified wines have become increasingly popular as after-dinner drinks and aperitifs. Well-known fortified wines include port, sherry, Madeira, Marsala, and vermouth.
Fortified Wine Pairings
There are many different types of fortified wine, and each one pairs well with different foods. Here are some general guidelines to help you choose the right pairing for your next meal.
For a light, refreshing fortified wine, try a fino sherry with seafood or light appetisers. For a richer fortified wine, go for an oloroso sherry with meat or cheese dishes. If you want to really impress your guests, try a vintage port with dessert!
Whatever you choose, make sure to serve your fortified wine at the correct temperature. Finos and manzanillas should be served chilled, while olorosos and other types of sherry can be served at room temperature. Vintage ports should always be served slightly below room temperature.