Fortified Wines

Here we take a look at the Fortified wines of Sherry and Port.


After years of being ‘out of fashion’ Sherry is starting to make a comeback. Made in the town of Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain mainly from the Palomino grape, Sherry can come in a range of styles and below is quick guide to what’s on offer;

  • Fino and Manzanilla – These are pale in colour and dry Sherries that are best consumed chilled and as quickly as possible due to them losing their freshness quickly.
  • Amontillado – This has a deeper amber colour with nutty flavours. Although they are dry wines, they are often sweetened to suit certain markets tastes.
  • Oloroso – In this style, the Sherries are deep brown in colour, full bodied and high in alcohol. They have intense flavours of roasted nuts, coffee and meat. These Sherries are dry but it is common for them to be sweetened (and these may be called Oloroso Dulce, or Cream Sherries).
  • PX (Pedro Ximénez) – Made from sun-dried Pedro Ziménez grapes. This style of sherry is almost black in colour, intensely sweet with dried fruit flavours (fig, raisin, prune).

When it comes to food, match Sherries with such things as trifles and nutty desserts.


Port is a sweet fortified wine made in the upper Douro region of Portugal from a selection of black grapes. Just like with Sherry, there are different styles of Port;

  • Tawny Port – This is an inexpensive, lighter style of Port which tends to be Pink in colour.
  • Reserve Tawny Ports – The wines used for these Ports have been aged in Oak for at least seven years and the result is a medium tawny colour with flavours such as walnut, coffee and chocolate.
  • Tawny Ports with an Indication of Age (10, 20, 30 or over 40 years) – These are the very best Reserve Tawny Ports where the age is an average not a minimum. They are best to be consumed as close to the bottling date as possible and should be slightly chilled when served.
  • Ruby Port – This is an inexpensive, non-vintage Port that is simple and fruity.
  • Reserve Ruby Port – Better quality with intense, complex fruits.
  • Late Bottles Vintage (LBV) Port- Similar to Reserve Ruby, but the wines come from a single year’s harvest.
  • Vintage Ports – The grapes for these Ports come from the best vineyards and come from good years. When young they have spicy red and black fruit aromas that quickly turn into cooked fruit and vegetal flavours (prune, coffee, leather).

Port goes well with dark chocolate and cheese, with the favourite of course being stilton.

Now that you’ve read about fortified wines – why not try some! See our fortified wines here.