Fortified wines are sweet, high alcohol usuall red wines, made famous in countries such as Portgual, Spain and France. In the hottest regions of these countries the grapes become very ripe which makes them perfect to craft fortified wines. These are simply normal wines which have had their ferment interrupted by the addition of spirit before it is complete which leaves residual sugar in the final wine. It also creates wines that often have an alcohol level at 18% or higher.
Two of the most famous fortified wines are Port and Sherry. Port is a fortified red wine made in the Douro Valley. It’s vintage wines, made from a single year, can be suitable for very long aging, many drinking well for 50 years or more. Tawny Port is made from a blend of different vintages and makes wines that are both complex and made to enjoy as soon as they are released. Sherry is a fortified white wine, made in Southern Spain from the Palomino grape. Wines are long aged and blended in large old oak casks which creates a nutty wine, that can be dry or sweet.In Australia we have our own unique style of fortified wines, which can be found among our Collective Preferred, including Muscats, Topaques and vintage ports, particularly from Rutherglen in Victoria. The Muscats and Topaques are blended wines made from a wide range of vintages. At the finest wineries the winemakers will blend in small quantities of wines upto 100 years old to craft their finest wines, which are in fact some of the greatest fortified wines in the world. The final stock of these long aged fortified wines is incredibly valuable and is the key element in lifting a Muscat and Topaque from exceptional to world class.