Wine, Wine Reviews

Fortified wines for festive events and everyday enjoyment


Port, sherry, Madeira, and Marsala wines represent a category that was very popular mainly in the United Kingdom, and to some extent in other English-speaking countriesNow, port wines enjoy certain popularity in the Untied Kingdom, the U.S.A, and belatedly in Canada.

It is unfortunate that fortified wines have lost market share, mainly because of their relatively high alcohol content (17 – 21 ABV).  Fortified wines stay “put” once opened for several days, expect vintage ports.

Port wines are excellent in resorting strength and replacing iron in blood after surgery or birth and often recommended by doctors.  All fortified wines can be enjoyed daily in small quantities, but most people indulge during Christmas and on other festive occasions.

Members of the Wine Writers’ Circle Of Canada taste a selection of fortified wines before Christmas.  This year we tasted several ports, Sherries, one Marsala, and a number of wines styles like fortified products.  Port wines may be white, ruby, vintage character, tawny, LBV (Late Bottled Vintage, or vintage.

Of those sampled the following stood out:

White Port, Fonseca
Straw colour with gold hints; floral notes, pear, dried fruit and a touch of citrus on the nose; sweet white port with rich honey, raisin fruit and toasted almonds with a long finish.
$ 16.90

Guimaraens Vintage Port 2012, Fonseca
Deep ruby to black in colour. Very complex berry aromas intertwined and wild herbs.
On the palate the dark fruit flavours show surprising freshness and good grip.
Long finish

Vau Vintage Port 1997, Sandeman
Deep red and ink. Intense fresh red fruit aromas. In the mouth rich plum flavours underlined with strawberry. Good grip. A powerful wine to enjoy after an extended meal. 89/100
$ 31.80

First estate Reserve Port, Taylor-Fladgate
Exudes rich blackberry and cassis aromas. Well knit structure with an excellent balance.
$ 16.55

LBV 2009 Taylor Fladgate
Deep brilliant red ending to black. Fresh red berry, and black cheery aromas waft out of the glass. Powerful, intense, impressive, and well balanced.
$ 18.45


Dry Palomino Sherry Tio Pepe, Gonzales Byass
Bone dry. 15 per cent alcohol. This sherry is particularly suitable for tapas, especially those that are deep-fried. Also recommenced for marinated seafood.
$ 16.90

Bailen Oloroso, Osborne
Nutty and dry with lovely brilliant amber with green highlights. Intense hazelnuts and vanilla aromas dominate the nose. Very elegant and complex with a persistent aftertaste.
$ 16.95

Dry Sack Medium Dry, William and Humbert
An amber colourer wine of intense aromas suggesting nuts. Full bodied and well balanced buttressed with a fine acid backbone.
$ 16.90


Vecchioflorio Dolce, 2010, Florio
Amber colour with hints of old gold. Aromas of raisins, liquorice, dates and vanilla are noticeable.
In the mouth flavours of ripe fruits and raisins dominate. The wine si sweet but balanced.
Pair with Marsala parfait, or cakes.
$ 14.95


  1. I agree, Marsala wine is indeed getting more popular here in the United Kingdom. Thank you for the great wine advices !

  2. Oh la la. You just reminded me the importance of having a good wine sipped down the throat. Great for the heart. The collections you stated out, nice ones, I think I will get two of them bottles and enjoy for the night.

  3. Well It’s a awesome article you are share about different types of wines. Great and Now I’m gonna also try it. Thansk for the sharing it.