About Fortified Wines

A fortified wine is one in which a neutral alcoholic spirit or grape brandy has been added to increase the alcoholic level. Famous examples include port, sherry and vermouth.

When the brandy or neutral spirit is added, alcohol increased from 14% to a level between 18% to 20%, taking them out of the table wine category. Fortified wines in many countries are thus taxed at a higher rate than table wines.

Top Picks for Fortified Wines

Robledo NV Mamma Marias White Port Sauvignon Blanc
94 points
$42
Golden amber color. Interesting, inviting aromas of hay, dried fruits, toasted nuts, and toffee with a round, vibrant, moderately sweet medium body and a warming, subtle, very long dried apricot, salted butterscotch, caramel corn, and peppermint finish with well-integrated, silky tannins. An endless white port to delight your guest’s taste buds; a must-try.
Awards: 2017 Top 2 Best Fortified Wine, 2017 Top 2 Best US Fortified Wine
Isaac Smith 2011 Port New Jersey
89 points
$52
Brown brick red color. Aromas and flavors of cocoa powder, dried strawberries, candied hazelnuts, and fleur de sel with a silky, vibrant, sweet medium-to-full body and a hot, medium-length banana chips, dry roasted peanuts, and raisins finish. A solid Port-style wine with layers of chocolatey, nutty goodness.
Château Élan NV Port Riserva American
89 points
$39.95
Dusty black violet color. Aromas of dried fig, flourless chocolate cake, pastry dough, cocoa powder dusted almonds, chocolate muffin, toasted marshmallow, and molasses with a round, lively, sweet medium body and a warming, subtle, very long chocolate covered strawberries and toasty crepes finish with light oak. Enormous strawberry flavors rock the palate in this delicious fortified favorite.
89 points $39.95
Porto Meneres NV Porto Fine White Douro
88 points
$14.99
Best Buy
Steely amber color. Spicy, fruity aromas of peach candies, sponge cake, birch forest, and coriander with a glycerous, vibrant, sweet medium body and a peppery, delightful, medium-length orange marmalade, orange blossom, apricot-almond tea cake, and clove finish with heavy oak. A zesty white port that will make for great porto-tonicos and cocktail play.
88 points $14.99 Best Buy
White Pine 2016 Mirage Reserve Chambourcin
88 points
$15.99
Bright dark violet color. Aromas of mulberry, bramble, and wild mint with a round, lively, sweet medium body and a warming, compelling, relaxed fruitcake, chocolate covered butterscotch, and English toffee finish with medium tannins and a suggestion of oak. A port-style wine for delicious dessert pairings.
88 points $15.99
Isaac Smith 2014 White Port New Jersey
87 points
$45
Amber color. Grainy aromas of beeswax, fallen apricot, buttered barley, and dried chamomile with a slightly chewy, vibrant, sweet medium body and a peppery, medium-length peanut butter and orange marmalade on cinnamon graham cracker and banana chips finish. A distinctive Vidal Blanc Port-style wine that will surprise the fortified wine drinker and entertain the mixologist.
Augusta Winery 2013 Estate Bottled Vintage Port Chambourcin
87 points
$13.99
Best Buy
Dark brown brick red color. Aromas of raisin bread, toasted coconut, molasses, spicy mexican hot chocolate, cola, salted nuts, and violet with a round, vibrant, sweet medium body and a peppery, delightful, medium-length carob cookies, cinnamon coffee cake, dried dark fruit, and bourbon barrel finish with medium tannins and moderate oak. A very bright and spicy port-style wine with astounding acidity; cellar for several more years.
87 points $13.99 Best Buy
Diamondback Vineyards 2012 Bella Forte Gold Vineyard Rogue Valley
87 points
$60
Black ruby color. Oaky aromas of peppercorns, latex, rosebush, rhubarb, serrano ham, dill, and blackberry jam with a coarse, vibrant, fruity sweet medium body and a hot, stimulating, medium-long raspberry liqueur and bacon jam finish with chalky tannins and heavy oak. A digestif-like port-style wine with intense oak and concentrated fruit.
Porto Meneres NV Porto Fine Ruby Douro
87 points
$14.99
Best Buy
Dusty ruby color. Fruity aromas of rum soaked blueberries, dark chocolate genache, dried cranberry, and baking spices with a thick, bright, very sweet full body and a peppery, medium-length molasses, salted mixed nuts, savory herbs, and cumin finish with dusty, medium tannins and moderate oak. A solid port choice for a casual after-dinner indulgence.
87 points $14.99 Best Buy
Porto Meneres NV Porto Fine Tawny Douro
87 points
$14.99
Best Buy
Dark burnt sienna color. Boozy aromas of dried cherries with orange zest, almond oil, grilled cashew and brazil nuts, and smoky tobacco with a syrupy, vibrant, sweet medium body and a hot, medium-length black pepper, soy sauce, and Madeira cake finish with medium tannins and moderate oak. A nice Tawny port for cocktails and dessert recipes.
87 points $14.99 Best Buy