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Wines that have had a form of spirit added to them are referred to as fortified wines. The purpose of fortifying wine is to increase its alcohol volume while injecting the flavours and characteristics that come with certain spirits.
One of the initial reasons for fortifying wine was to preserve it because ethanol is a natural source of antiseptic. While other methods of preservation have since been created, the production of fortified wine is still very popular because the finished product has such a vast range of flavours.
The most common ingredient added to fortified wine is grape brandy, but a wide variety of flavours, scents and characteristics can also be introduced including grain and sugarcane. This makes the range of fortified wines available immensely diverse, with a huge range of flavours, scents, and characteristics.
Port wine (typically known as Port)originates in the Douro Valley of Portugal's northern province. It tends to be a sweet red wine, but can also come in dry, semi-dry and white varieties.
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near a town in Spain called Jerez, and "sherry" is actually the English word for Jerez. After fermentation, sherry is fortified with brandy. Due to the fact that fortification is carried out after fermentation, the majority of sherries are initially dry, with sweetness being added later.
Madeira is a fortified wine named after its place of origin, the Madeira Islands. Madeira wine is made in a variety of styles, such as dry wines to be consumed on their own, or sweeter wines that are more commonly consumed with dessert. Maderia wine is heated and oxidised (maturation process), resulting in a longer lifespan and a vast range of delicious flavours.
Marsala wine is available in both fortified and unfortified variations and originates from Sicily. It was originally produced in 1772 by John Woodhouse, an English merchant, as a budget-friendly alternative to sherry and port wine, and is named after the island's port, Marsala. Both styles are blended with brandy. ‘Fine’, the slightly younger and weaker version, is at least 17% proof and aged for four months or more; while the ‘Superiore’, is at least 18%, and must be aged two years or more.
Are you looking for wine that offers more in regards to its strength and flavour? DrinkFinder’s comprehensive range of wine includes a number of fortified wines from all over the world. Check out our fortified wines online or get in touch if you have any queries.