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
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
Shenandoah Vineyards 2018 Black Muscat Fortified Muscat
88 points
$12
Best Buy
Dusty light garnet color. Aromas and flavors of baked peach, raspberry glaze, sugared melon, pasteis de nata, honey, and orange blossom with a satiny, vibrant, sweet light-to-medium body and a sleek, captivating, medium-length finish that presents suggestions of orange peel and caramel with light oak flavor. A fragrant, outgoing Fortified wine that will be a dream with sweet almond desserts.
88 points $12 Best Buy
Bellview Winery NV Batch No. 3 Port Outer Coastal Plain
88 points
$28
Dark brown brick red color. Aromas and flavors of fresh brownies, creme brulee, rum-raisin cake, and chocolate-mint cookies with a round, vibrant, sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, captivating, medium-length finish evoking notes of candied ginger and orange peel and soy glazed-nuts with light oak flavor. A rich, chocolatey Domestic Port-Style Wine that will pair effortlessly with blue cheese and creamy desserts.
Isaac Smith NV Red Domestic Port-Style Wine New Jersey
88 points
$29
Dark brown brick red color. Aromas of chocolate wafer cookies, plum pudding, dried figs, and molasses with a satiny, crisp, moderately sweet medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length raisins and lemon cheesecake finish with moderate oak flavor. A rich, vibrant Port-Style wine with notes of chocolate and candied citrus.
Quady 2018 Essensia Fortified Muscat
87 points
$24
Brilliant light amber color. Savory, fruity aromas and flavors of preserved peaches, pineapple herb shrub, salted caramel, saffron, and white tea with a silky, bright, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a seamless, breezy finish manifesting elements of apricot cobbler, black strap molasses cookie, floral iced tea with honey, and hint of smoked nuts. A nice, not-too-sweet dessert wine that with its bright acidity, layered flavors, and chewy fruit tannins will pair nicely.