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
217586
Peachy Canyon
NV Port Zinfandel
Dusty brown brick red color. Aromas and flavors of buttery praline and toffee, honeyed berries and citrus, and suede with a satiny, tangy, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-length spiced cherries and apricots, honeyed golden raisins, sweet and peppery spices, and nuts finish with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and light oak. A superb, complex domestic port-style wine with long waves of rich berry, spice and honey flavors and an enticing layer of ice wine like stone fruits.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217713
St. Clair Winery
NV Kiva New Mexico
Medium dark amber copper color. Fruity, spicy, attractive aromas and flavors of orange marmalade and spice cake, orange brandy liqueur, and honeyed dried apricot with a round, tangy, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, distinctive, long spiced apples and peaches, white toffee, and vanilla cream finish with fine, dusty tannins and light oak. A superb orange flavored fortified wine of the highest order; make sure to try in cocktails too.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218119
Château Élan
NV Port Reserve American
Opaque garnet black color. Baked, fruity aromas and flavors of berry-peach compote, spices, cocoa, and brown butter with a velvety, bright, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a complex, long caramelized nuts, prunes and fruit leather, sweet and peppery spices, and cedar and earth finish. A remarkable domestic recreation of a fine, well-aged vintage Oporto.
95 points $36.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217630
Samson Estates
NV Cassis Black Currant Dessert Wine
Ruby garnet color. Fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of warm cassis compote, chocolate mint, and spiced nuts with a satiny, tangy, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, complex, long cranberry sauce, eucalyptus lemon lozenge, and menthol tobacco finish with crunchy, fruit tannins and no oak. A rich, spicy fruit wine with great dimension and length.
94 points $13 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215940
Johnson Estate
"Maple" Estate Grown
Brilliant light amber color. Interesting, earthy rustic aromas and flavors of grappa, lacquer, suede, and honeyed dried peaches with a glycerous, soft, sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, complex, long spiced apples and pears, chestnut nougat, and maple cream finish with light oak. A delicious and nuanced fortified dessert wine that evokes memories of Italy.
93 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216065
La Quinta
NV Syrah Port Paso Robles
Dusty ruby black color. Dusty, earthy aromas and flavors of leather, cocoa and coconut, raisin box, and crayon and clay with a round, bright, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a peppery, interesting, medium-length prune compote, spiced nuts, pencil shavings, and pepper dust and minerals finish with dusty, chewy tannins. A brooding Late-Bottle Vintage Port styled fortified wine with attractive earthiness and restraint.
93 points $17 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216282
Delgado Zuleta
NV Palo Cortado Sherry Spain
Light amber color. Toasty, fruity, nutty, savory aromas and flavors of bread dough, toasted almonds, salinity, and peanut brittle with a slightly chewy, crisp, dry full body and a warming, elaborate, medium-length finish with well-integrated tannins and moderate oak. This a wine that fuels the imagination in a nice way - to sip this in front of a wood burning fire.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216025
Amber Falls Winery
2013 "Sweet Dreams"
Gold color. Buttery, nutty umami aromas and flavors of sautéed almonds, rancio, fig, and hint of soy with a satiny, bright, off-dry medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, long fleur de sel and honey roasted stone fruits finish with light oak. A delicious, complex, and surprisingly Spanish-ish cream Sherry-like wine.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217726
Penman Springs
2013 Trembler Trois Paso Robles
Opaque garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of dried berries, leather, and dark roasted nuts and coffee beans with a velvety, bright, sweet medium-to-full body and a tingling, medium-long spiced sour cherries, orange blossom honey, and cedar finish with earthy, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A rich, sweet and savory port-like fortified wine with spicy oak.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215078
Koblevo
NV Royal Muscat Muscat Hamburg
Bright medium dark brick red color. Floral, fruity aromas of orange blossoms, roasted golden barley, sultana raisins, and fresh grapey finish with a lively, sweet full body and a warming, complex, medium-long finish with well-integrated, firm tannins and moderate oak.
90 points $8.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab