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

Anthony Lee’s NV Raspberry Spirit Fortified Wine Maine
93 points
$11
Indigo color. Aromas and flavors of mixed berry sauce on buttered pancakes and rocky road ice cream with an tangy, sweet medium-to-full body and an interesting, long finish with accents of black raspberry jam and nougat with a suggestion of oak flavor. A pure and decadent berry forward fortified wine with great flavor and structure.
Leyenda NV Pedro Ximenez Sherry Jerez de la Frontera
93 points
$18.99
Violet color. Aromas and flavors of mashed raisins and prunes and chocolate nuts with a bright, sweet medium-full body and a subtle, long finish that presents notes of fig paste, mincemeat pie, and baklava with no oak flavor. A rich and toothsome PX Sherry with great length and depth.
93 points $18.99
Grande River Vineyards NV Ruby Port Grand Valley
92 points
$24.99
Deep purple color. Jammy aromas of palo santo, licorice, blueberry, and macerated strawberries with a velvety, lively, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, complex, long chocolate biscuit, raisin, cinnamon, cumin, peppermint, and chocolate mousse finish with well-integrated tannins and moderate oak flavor. Spice reigns is the distinctive Port-style wine with a symphonic, traveling finish.
92 points $24.99
Peachy Canyon NV Port Zinfandel
92 points
$32
Dark burnt sienna color. Aromas of molasses-drizzled dates, dried figs, ground pepper, and tobacco with a round, lively, very sweet medium body and a peppery, elegant, long flourless chocolate cake, caramel latte, red licorice, orange marmalade, vanilla fudge, and candied nuts finish with moderate oak flavor. An absolutely delicious companion to blue cheese or chocolates.
Samson Estates NV Framboise Raspberry Dessert Wine Puget Sound
91 points
$15
Brown brick red color. Aromas and flavors of fresh crushed and baked raspberries and hint of cacao nib with an bright, sweet full body and a refreshing, medium-long finish evoking suggestions of honeyed dried berries and dates, nuts, and hint of peppery brandy with fine, chewy, fruit tannins. A rather serious, concentrated and liqueur-like raspberry wine that will be great in kirs.
Samson Estates NV BLU Blueberry Dessert Wine Puget Sound
90 points
$16
Deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of spicy blueberry chutney and cinnamon candy with a bright, moderately sweet medium body and an intriguing, medium-long finish that shows accents of plum custard tart and brown spice tea with well-integrated, dusty tannins. A plush, spicy dessert wine with lots of purity and personality.
Falkner 2015 Field Blend Port South Coast
90 points
$39.95
Brown brick red color. Aromas of dried figs and strawberries, quince paste, and persimmon with a slightly chewy, lively, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long spiced apple and toffee finish with moderate oak flavor. An excellently balanced Port-style wine that will be divine with cheese.
90 points $39.95
Romariz 2017 Vintage 2017 Douro
89 points
Deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate ganache, ripe blueberries, spiced pastry, honey, and licorice with a slightly chewy, lively, very sweet medium-to-full body and a subtle, medium-long finish with accents of stewed raisins with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A dense and sturdy vintage port that should age gracefully, youthful now but will develop into a complex wine worthy of a special occasion. Drink 2025-2030.
Château Élan 2016 Riserva Georgia
89 points
$60
Black garnet color. Aromas of cocoa powder, ripe banana, and almond cakes with a round, crisp, very sweet medium-full body and a warming, appealing, medium-length crepes with bananas, dried figs, and cinnamon finish with light oak flavor. A fun port-style wine for those wishing to discover an underrepresented varietal; ripe, baked banana flavors display great purity and a balanced sweetness will be well received with the dessert course.
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.
Awards: 2018 Best New Jersey Fortified Wine