A Taste of the World Through Fortified Wine

Fortified wine draws its name and its “fortification” from the addition of any alcohol-based distilled spirit to a wine base in order to prevent degradation. Some of the world’s finest fortified wine varieties include Port, Marsala, Commandaria, Madeira, Muscat, and Maury wines.

Fortified wine making consists in adding alcohol

Creating the Intricate Varieties of Fortified Wine

The addition of alcohol is what defines the characteristics of each of the many Fortified Wine varieties. As a result, fortified wine production is a complex process, and the addition of sugar, the fermentation times, and a range of ingredients, result in red and white wines that range from dry to sweet in character with an alcohol content of at least 16 percent for preservation. As is the case with natural vintages, regional varieties are highly regulated and prided for their distinctive fortified wine flavour. The winemakers of Portugal are regarded as the producers of some of the finest fortified wines in the world, including the well-aged Madeira, the floral and exotic Moscatel de Setúbal, and arguably the most famous fortified wine variety in the world, Port, which combines a richness of flavour with approximately 20 percent alcohol by volume.
Fortified wines pair well with cheese

The Art of Fortified Wine Food Pairing

Fortified wine food pairings vary greatly because of the diverse characteristics of each wine. Madeira is a fine pre-dinner appetiser wine that pairs well with Fontina cheese and white lean poultry, or as an after-dessert cordial. The sweetness of Marsala wine makes it a great accompaniment to simple flavours such as goat cheese, or to the complex aroma and flavour of smoked meats, while accentuating the flavours of almond and walnut. Port wine is traditionally paired with Stilton but is favoured as an early evening wine to be served with fresh citrus and berry fruits. The richness of Port wine elevates the flavour of smoked salmon, clam chowder, and peppered prawn recipes. The classic parlour food pairing is of a dry Sherry with strong blue cheeses, such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Danish. Most fortified dry and sweet wines are also used as culinary ingredients to add character to meats and gravies.