Fortified wine is simply a wine which has had extra alcohol added to it. These wines are made by adding additional alcohol before, during or even after the fermentation process. This process was initially intended to preserve wine for shipping however, these days fortified wines are made for their taste and known as somewhat of a speciality wine.
If the additional alcohol is added to the wine after fermentation, the final product is a dry wine which does not contain any residual sugar. However, when brandy is added prior to fermentation the alcohol prevents the yeast from converting the sugar, leaving you with a sweet fortified wine.
The four most common fortified wines are Madeira, Marsala, Port and Sherry. Madeira, Marsala and Port are all produced in a variety of styles ranging from dry wines to sweet wines, while sherry is primarily known as sweet wine.
When pairing fortified dessert wine the more the character of the wine matches the food, the better the combination is. Here is a selection of mouth-watering dessert wines we have already paired for you!
Sherry is a classic cooking wine which also doubles as a delicious after-dinner drink. This wine is should be paired with rich chocolate based desserts such as chocolate soufflé, and is also thought to pair perfectly with raisin-filled desserts, such as rum and raisin apple pie. For those who don’t have the time to prepare more complicated desserts, why not try pouring some sherry over vanilla ice-cream for a simple yet tasty treat.
Unlike sherry, madeira wines have a distinctive streak of acidity running through them, which assists in balancing the warmth of the alcohol and in many cases the sweetness. Madeira wines are paired perfectly with panforte, a dense flat cake made with honey, nuts, candied fruit, cocoa and spices, as well as stollen, a rich german nut and fruit loaf.
Marsala wine is renowned for the dish marsala chicken however, as a sweet fortified dessert wine it is well paired with fresh fruity flavours or desserts which incorporate coffee, such as tiramisu.
Port generally pairs better with sweeter desserts, particularly well with any dessert that has a caramel or toffee note, perhaps try making a creme crème brûlée or sticky toffee pudding. This wine also goes excellently with nut based tarts or densely textured cakes.
At St Anne’s we offer a large range of gorgeous fortified dessert wines, perfect for pairing with your next dessert!