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What is Fortified Wine?

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Fortified wines, also known as liqueur wines, are so called because they have been fortified (strengthened) by the addition of grape spirit. This addition increases the alcoholic strength and stabilises the wine.

The main categories of fortified wine are outlined below, with the range of styles in each category and their most significant characteristics. The stage at which the spirit is added is critical to the style: if it is added before or during the fermentation process, the wine will be sweeter than if it is added at the end of the fermentation process. This is because the addition of the spirit stops the fermentation.

It is widely believed that fortified wines can be kept for quite some time after they have been opened. However, this applies only to Madeira and to other wines that are exposed to heat during maturation. Other fortified wines should be treated in the same way as non-fortified wines, especially mature vintage ports. Delicate fresh styles such as Manzanilla and Fino sherry should be consumed as young as possible.

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Thursday, September 21, 1:24 am

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