Fortified wines have been around for a few centuries, and enjoy popularity in many countries as aperitifs or after dinner drinks, but you can also enjoy them between meals like the English do.
Port, sherry, Madeira, Marsala are the most popular fortified wines.
English merchants “invented” port, Marsala, sherry and Madeira and popularized all, both in England and elsewhere in the world.
Port wines can be white, or red.
Red ports are made in a range of styles. White ports are mostly off dry and can be invigorating aperitifs in mall quantities.
Nowadays, at leas some port wineries also make delectable dry port table wines.
Sherries from southwestern Spain can be bone dry and deliriously sweet, and everything in-between.
The same is true fro Marsala and Madeira.
The evolution and story of each makes for captivating stories and fascinating reading.
These days, practically all fortified wines represent excellent value. They range anywhere from 17 to 20 per cent ABV, and can be enjoyed as aperitifs, digestives and employed to enhance sauces.
After opening a bottle, you can keep the wine for a few days without fearing excessive oxidation.
Here are some I tasted recently:
White Port, Taylor-Fladgate
LBV (Late Bottled Port) 2009,.Pocas
LBV , 2009, Taylor-Fladgate
LBV, 2009, Graham
10-Year-Old Tawny Port, Graham
20-year-Old Tawny Port, Graham
10-year-old Tawny, Taylor-Fladgate
Don Nuno, E. Lustau
Almacenista Pato de Gallina, E. Lustau
East India, E. Lustau
Solera 1847, Gonzalez_Byass
Vermouths are infused with herbs and fortified with brandy. France and Italy make a range of white and red vermouths. Dry vermouths are delightful aperitifs; sweet versions are used in cocktails or as social drinks during receptions or in cooking.
Once opened they keep fro two to three weeks when refrigerated.
Carpano, Cinzano, Martini e Rossi, Cocchi, Contratto, Gancia, Stock, and Noilly et Prat are some of teh more famous vermouth producers.
The Antica Formula vermouth from Carpano tastes great.