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

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
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
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 flavor. Enormous strawberry flavors rock the palate in this delicious fortified favorite.
89 points $39.95
Quady NV Starboard Batch 88 Port California
88 points
$24.99
Burnt sienna color. Aromas of pickled watermelon rind, cigar box, menthol, and spiced cherry preserve with a silky, sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, swift chocolate Twizzlers, anise, and fudge finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. An easy-drinking port style wine for everyday indulgences.
88 points $24.99
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 flavor. A zesty white port that will make for great porto-tonicos and cocktail play.
88 points $14.99 Best Buy
Romariz NV Reserva Latina Tawny Port Douro
87 points
$18.99
Brick red color. Fruity aromas of dried pineapple with coconut, sultanas, honey roasted macadamia, marigold, and fondant with a satiny, crisp, sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, captivating, medium-length molasses, tobacco, constant comment tea, black pepper, and ginger finish with well-integrated tannins and moderate oak flavor. A tasty port fit for after dinner sips or cocktail creation.
87 points $18.99