André Arquette

Fortified Wine

Fortified wines are a type of wine that has had distilled spirits, usually brandy, added to it during the fermentation process. This addition of alcohol raises the overall alcohol content of the wine and creates a unique flavor profile that is different from regular table wines. Fortified wines are produced all around the world, but some of the most famous varieties come from Portugal, Spain, and France. The process of fortification was originally developed in the 16th century as a way to preserve wine during long sea voyages, but it has since become a popular method of producing wines with unique and complex flavors.

There are many types of fortified wine, each with its own characteristics and production methods. Some of the most well-known fortified wines include port, sherry, Madeira, and vermouth.

Port wine, which is produced in the Douro Valley in Portugal, is perhaps the most famous fortified wine. It is typically made from a blend of several different grape varieties, including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. The wine is fortified with brandy during the fermentation process, which stops the fermentation and leaves residual sugar in the wine. Ports can be divided into several categories, including Ruby, Tawny, and Vintage.

Sherry, on the other hand, is produced in the Jerez region of Spain. It is made from the Palomino grape and is aged in a solera system, which involves blending different vintages of wine to create a consistent and complex flavor profile. There are several different types of sherry, including Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, and Oloroso.

Madeira is a fortified wine produced on the Portuguese island of Madeira. It is made from several different grape varieties, including Sercial, Verdelho, Bual, and Malmsey. The wine is aged in barrels for several years, and the heat and oxidation that occur during the aging process give Madeira its unique nutty and caramel flavors.

Vermouth is a fortified wine that is infused with a variety of botanicals, including herbs, spices, and sometimes even fruits. It is typically used as a component in cocktails, although it can also be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif.

Fortified wines are often served as dessert wines, as their sweetness and richness make them an ideal pairing for rich desserts such as chocolate cake or crème brûlée. They can also be enjoyed on their own as a digestif, as the higher alcohol content can help to aid digestion after a meal.