What is fortified wine?

Whenever you are finding yourself at the shop, looking for something tasty to drink during a nice dinner, you can find many options to choose from, especially if you go to a qualified shop with many different quality wines. However, how to choose which kind might be the best? And also, how to go out of your comfort zone, without risking too much?


Well, there are many ways to get acquainted with certain types of wines and explore more on the horizon of the wine world, first of all, is to go through some middle-ground experiences. One perfect way to enjoy a new kind of wine, without risking too much could be by trying a fortified wine. Once you will get accustomed to these kinds of tastes, you will never get enough of and you will finally be ready to get more into the world of wines.

What is fortified wine?

But, what are really fortified wines? Also called liquorous wines, fortified wines are wine-based drinks that are produced by taking a kind of wine or even some partially fermented must. The interesting part is that the fermentation process is getting blocked by adding to the initial mix more alcohol or brandy, so that it is fortified but, at the same time, it can change the taste of the mix, by making it sweeter, according to the level of the fermentation of the wine.


Fortified wines, as it can be suggested by their name, are also known because they can reach a higher alcoholic grade, reaching even more than the 15 or 22 grade. But why are fortified wines so well-loved? Mostly, because of their very sweet and rich texture, but also their inebriating taste, they are drunk on special occasions, but they are also studied further by specialists in the sector, because of their interesting production and organoleptic aroma. However, it should be said that they must not be confused with passit wines, that are mainly used as dessert wines, but they are also different from the production and overall structure.

Fortified wine: production

When it come to Italian wines or fortified wines, the important aspect is always the production behind, because every single step is made in order to give a specific characteristic and flavor, so everything is deeply calculated. In case of fortified wines, this information is even more important, because the essence of liquorous wines is deeply intertwined with their making process. But let’s see how it is made: firstly, you need to fortify a must that is fermenting or a wine base that is already completely fermented.


The fortifying process is really easy and it is made by adding the ‘mistella’, which is a must that cannot be fermented by adding alcohol, more alcohol or even brandy. In this way, the alcoholic gradation is heightened, but there is a basic rule: it must never be over the double of the initial wine’s gradation. One of the few interesting facts about the making processof fortified wines is the wine grapes’ withering, which helps not only elevates the taste but also helps transform the sensorial elements of the wine, as well as affects the evolution and conservability of the wine itself.

Fortified wines: features and effects

Best wines, especially if they are fortified wines, have different features and characteristic effects that make them so distinguishable and well-appreciated. In order to discover which element makes them so well loved or gives them that irreplaceable taste, it is essential to study all of them, also because it allows us to choose more wisely which one can be our preferred or not. The main characteristic that makes fortified wine is, as it can be seen by their name, is the fortification process, which can happen before, during or even after the alcoholic fermentation of the must. This process can produce different tastes: if it happens at the beginning, it makes the wine sweeter, while in the end, they tend to make them drier.


Another important aspect of the making process in fact is the fermentation or the insertion of a different kind of must or brandy, in order to change it. For example, the adding of this or that kind of wine or brandy, is essential to make the wine sweeter or more alcoholic, all based on the sugar and alcohol level that can be used during it. As in every aspect of the wine making process, making fortified wines is a science, but the result is much sweeter and tastier.


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