Fortified wines…what’s that???

Fortified wine is a kind wine to which was added a distilled beverage such as brandy or eau de vie. As examples of it we’ve Port, Madeira, Sherry (Jerez) and Marsala. People began to fortify wines to preserve them during trade voyages during 16th and 17th centuries, and based on that they used to add some brandy to stabilize it. Usually brandy is used in most of the countries that do fortified wines although depending on regional appellation laws they also can use neutral spirits based on grains, grapes and sugarcane. Nowadays, fortified wines contain between 17 and 21 per cent alcohol and if brandy is added after the fermentation process, the result is a dry wine. If added before fermentation, the result is a sweet wine.