Fortifying a wine consists in interrupting its alcoholic fermentation and adding alcohol to it. Its sugar and alcohol content therefore depend on the time fermentation is stopped, which explains the wide variety of products available.
Port, Banyuls, Maury, Mavrodaphné de Patras, Marsala, Madeira, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Samos.
Characteristics of fortified wines
Visual: The range of fortified wines is quite large, producing whites of golden-yellow to amber, and reds in garnet to violet shades.
Olfactory: A highly complex blend of candied fruit, candied orange peel, white flowers, apricot, peach and spice for whites. Red fortified wines have notes of cooked fruit, dried fruit, prune, fig, cinnamon, liquorice, violet, mocha, and cacao.
Taste: Fortified white wines have high sugar content, and are redolent of candied fruit, honey, apricot, peach, flowers and spice. The reds are characterized by notes of cooked fruit, black fruit jam, chocolate and spice.
Pairings: The wide variety of fortified wines offers a wide range of pairings. Opt for candied fruit or tropical fruit desserts for white fortified wines, such as Muscat de Rivesaltes or Muscat de Samos. Reds can be served with red or black fruit desserts, certain chocolate desserts and blue-veined cheeses.
Did you know?
Fortified wines can be divided into three categories depending on whether the alcohol has been added prior to fermentation (Mistelle), during fermentation (vin muté) or after fermentation (vin viné). There is no real English equivalent for these terms.