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

Mount Pleasant Estates NV Tawny Port Library Volume XX Augusta, Missouri
95 points
$58
Medium steely amber color. Aromas of candied walnut, soy sauce, pecans, and brine with a fat body and a polished, layered, medium-long white peppercorn, marzipan, sesame oil, butterscotch, and burnt honey finish with no oak flavor. A sweet, savory and nutty Port-style Fortified Wine; well-balanced and perfect to elevate all kinds of dessert pairings.
Awards: 2021 Best Port-Style Wine
Pedroncelli 2014 Four Grapes Vintage Port Dry Creek Valley
91 points
$28
Black garnet color. Fruity aromas and flavors of raisins, dried apricot, cinnamon-sugar, coffee candies, nutmeg, blood orange, star anise, and toffee with a satiny, vibrant, sweet medium body and a warming, layered, long finish. A bright and balanced Port-style wine that is sure to please the after-dinner crowd.
Porto Meneres NV 20 Years Old Douro
90 points
$49.99
Brown brick red color. Aromas of salted caramel, butterscotch, dried orange, sun dried tomato, and toasted coconut with a round, lively, sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long cocoa butter, blood orange flesh, spiced lemon cookies, sweet toffee with hazelnuts, and espresso crema finish with light oak flavor. A tasty, caramelly 20 Year Tawny Porto that will finish the meal in style.
90 points $49.99
DH Lescombes NV  Ratafia
90 points
$28
Pale golden yellow color. Aromas of orange blossom, ripe canary melon, lychee, jasmine, and asian pear with a velvety, crisp, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length sugared peach, elderflower, and fruit salad finish with no oak flavor. A rich and unctuous dessert offering with bold fruit and floral aromas; a luxurious choice for Moscato lovers.
St. Clair Winery NV Special Reserve Kiva New Mexico
90 points
$28
Dark amber color. Aromas and flavors of peach liqueur, rich caramel, bananas foster, hazelnut confection, and pumpkin pie with pecans with a satiny, vibrant, sweet medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length finish with elements of persimmon with moderate oak flavor. A distinctively nutty and warming fortified wine with a top note of vibrant peach aromas.
Jessie Creek 2019 Ruby Redhead Dessert Wine New Jersey
89 points
$25
Deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, dried apricots, creamy hazelnut spread, and brown sugar on oats with a round, lively, fruity medium body and a warming, intriguing, medium-long finish with notes of dark chocolate chips and cherry pie with moderate oak flavor. An easy-drinking and silky fortified wine with ripe berry flavors.
Quady NV Starboard Batch 88 Madera County
89 points
$25
Deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of saddle leather, floral spiced berries, orange agave marmalade, and peanut and pumpkin seed brittle with a satiny, vibrant, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a peppery, engaging, medium-long finish with notes of crystallized ginger, sassafras, cherry cola, and pink pepper. A vibrant young fortified wine that will be very versatile; try on ice cream or in cocktails.
Porto Meneres NV 10 Years Old Douro
89 points
$34.99
Burnt sienna color. Aromas of salted Marcona almonds, dried leaves, allspice, clove, caramel, butterscotch, and dried peach with a satiny, vibrant, sweet medium body and an effortless, compelling, medium-long vanilla-almond bark finish with moderate oak flavor. A satisfying 10-Year Tawny Port with delicate spice and the rich caramelly notes you crave.
89 points $34.99
Mount Pleasant Winery 2008 10 Year Old Port Meunch
89 points
$90
Golden amber color. Aromas of brown sugar, blended rum, candied orange, spice cake, and crystalized ginger with a round, vibrant, fruity sweet medium body and a warming, delightful, medium-long salted nuts, caramel-covered bananas, apricot pastry, and spiced pineapple finish. An after-dinner wine for rum lovers; a distinctive and delicious treat.
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.