If you're a wine lover but have not explored the world of fortified wines, then that needs to change. These are great wines that enhance your dining experience. They are not a replacement for your favorite Cabernet or Chardonnay, but rather as an addition. The great thing about fortified wines is that they don't spoil as fast as regular wine. The increased level of sugar in the wines allows them to last longer. Some estimates say that a bottle of fortified wine can last up to a month.
Here are three great fortified wines to try out.
This wine comes from Italy and is one of the best all purpose fortified wines. It comes in two styles: dry and sweet. The dry style has is a great wine that is often served before a meal with Gorgonzola cheese. The sweet wine is served after dinner with dessert.
A great thing about Marsala wine is that is can be used in cooking many famous Italian dishes. So, if you have a bottle and don't feel like drinking it, you can make chicken Marsala, mushroom risotto with a Marsala reduction, or a delicious dessert such as Zabaione (which is a rich custard).
Port wines get their name from the fact that they originated in Portugal. They are sweet red wines that are served after dinner. There are many types of port wine, from the very sweet, dark red Ruby port, to the mellow, golden Tawney port.
A Tawney port is much mellower, and not as sweet as a ruby port. Tawney ports are aged in barrels, as opposed to Ruby ports which are aged in steel. The barrel aging gives the Tawney port a very complex flavor. You will find that there are Tawney ports that have been aged for up to 40 years. These will be very expensive. However, you can find a 10 year Tawney port that is a great, affordable starting point for your port wine adventure.
Sherry is another classic fortified wine. It is made in Spain from the Palomino grape. The Sherry is fermented and stored in large wooden casks made from oak. There are several varieties of Sherry. Some, such as cream Sherry, are very sweet and will last for over a month once opened. Others, such as Fino sherry, need to be drunk within a week of opening.
A good Sherry to try out is one called Amontillado. It is a sweet Sherry, but not as sweet as cream Sherry. It can be served at room temperature, or slightly chilled. Contact a local outlet, such as wine by Latitude Wine Imports, for further assistance.