Fortified wine
A glass of port, a fortified wine.

Contents

Fortified wine is wine to which a distilled beverage (usually brandy) has been added.[1] Fortified wine is distinguished from spirits made from wine in that spirits are produced by means of distillation, while fortified wine is simply wine that has had a spirit added to it. Many different styles of fortified wine have been developed, including port, sherry, madeira, marsala, Commandaria wine and vermouth.[2]

Production

The original reason for fortifying wine was to preserve it, since ethanol is a natural antiseptic. Even though other preservation methods now exist, fortification continues to be used because the process can add distinct flavors to the finished product.[citation needed]

Although grape brandy is most commonly added to produce fortified wines, the additional alcohol may also be neutral spirit that has been distilled from grapes, grain, sugar beets, or sugarcane. Regional appellation laws may dictate the types of spirit that are permitted for fortification.

The source of the additional alcohol and the method of its distillation can affect the flavor of the fortified wine. If neutral spirit is used, it will usually have been produced with a continuous still, rather than a pot still.[2]

Sherry barrels aging.

When added to wine before the fermentation process is complete, the alcohol in the distilled beverage kills the yeast and leaves residual sugar behind. The end result is a wine that is both sweeter and stronger, normally containing about 20% alcohol by volume (ABV).

During the fermentation process, yeast cells in the must continue to convert sugar into alcohol until the must reaches an alcohol level of 16%–18%. At this level, the alcohol becomes toxic to the yeast and kills it. If fermentation is allowed to run to completion, the resulting wine will (in most cases) be low in sugar and will be considered a dry wine. The earlier in the fermentation process that alcohol is added, the sweeter the resulting wine will be. For drier fortified wine styles, such as sherry, the alcohol is added shortly before or after the end of the fermentation.

In the case of some fortified wine styles (such as late harvest and botrytized wines), a naturally high level of sugar will inhibit the yeast. This causes fermentation to stop before the wine can become dry.[2]

Mistelle

Mistelle (Italian: mistella; French: mistelle; Spanish, Portuguese, Galician and Catalan: mistela, from Latin mixtella/mixtvm "mix") is sometimes used as an ingredient in fortified wines, particularly Vermouth, Marsala and Sherry, though it is used mainly as a base for apéritifs such as the French Pineau des Charentes.[3] It is produced by adding alcohol to non-fermented or partially fermented grape juice.[4] The addition of alcohol stops the fermentation and, as a consequence Mistelle is sweeter than fully fermented grape juice in which the sugars turn to alcohol.[5]

Varieties

Madeira wine

Madeira is a fortified wine made in the Madeira Islands. The wine is produced in a variety of styles ranging from dry wines which can be consumed on their own as an aperitif, to sweet wines more usually consumed with dessert.

Marsala wine

Marsala wine is a wine from Sicily that is available in both fortified and unfortified versions.[6] It was first produced in 1772 by an English merchant, John Woodhouse, as an inexpensive substitute for sherry and port,[7] and gets its name from the island's port, Marsala.[6] The fortified version is blended with brandy to make two styles, the younger, slightly weaker Fine, which is at least 17% abv and aged at least four months; and the Superiore, which is at least 18%, and aged at least two years. The unfortified Marsala wine is aged in wooden casks for five years or more and reaches a strength of 18% by evaporation.[6]

Port wine

Port wine (also known simply as Port) is a fortified wine from the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal.[8] It is typically a sweet red wine, but also comes in dry, semi-dry and white varieties.

A degustation of sherries

Sherry

Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez, Spain. The word "sherry" is an anglicization of Jerez. In earlier times, sherry was known as sack (from the Spanish saca, meaning "a removal from the solera"). In the European Union "sherry" is a protected designation of origin; therefore, all wine labeled as "sherry" must legally come from the Sherry Triangle, which is an area in the province of Cádiz between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María.[9]

After fermentation is complete, sherry is fortified with brandy. Because the fortification takes place after fermentation, most sherries are initially dry, with any sweetness being added later. In contrast, port wine (for example) is fortified halfway through its fermentation, which stops the process so that not all of the sugar is turned into alcohol.

Sherry is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from dry, light versions such as finos to much darker and sometimes sweeter versions known as olorosos.

Vermouth

Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with aromatic herbs and spices ("aromatized" in the trade) using closely guarded recipes (trade secrets). Some of the herbs and spices used may include cardamom, cinnamon, marjoram and chamomile.[10] Some vermouth is sweetened; however, unsweetened, or dry, vermouth tends to be bitter. The person credited with the second vermouth recipe, Antonio Benedetto Carpano from Turin, Italy, chose to name his concoction "vermouth" in 1786 because he was inspired by a German wine flavoured with wormwood, a herb most famously used in distilling absinthe. However, wine flavored with wormwood goes back to ancient Rome. The modern German word Wermut (Wermuth in the spelling of Carpano's time) means both wormwood and vermouth. The herbs were originally used to mask raw flavors of cheaper wines,[11] imparting a slightly medicinal "tonic" flavour.

Vins doux naturels

Vins doux naturels are lightly fortified wines typically made from white Muscat grapes or red Grenache grapes in the south of France. The production of vins doux naturels was perfected by Arnaud de Villeneuve at the University of Montpellier in the 13th century and they are now quite common in the Languedoc-Roussillon of southwest France.

As the name suggests, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Muscat de Rivesaltes, and Muscat de Frontignan are all made from the white Muscat grape, whilst Banyuls and Maury are made from red Grenache. Regardless of the grape, fermentation is stopped by the addition of up to 10% of a 190 proof (95%) grape spirit.[12] The Muscats are made in a somewhat oxidised style, the Grenaches less so.[13]

Low-end fortified wines

Inexpensive fortified wines, such as Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose, became popular during the Great Depression for their relatively high alcohol content. The term wino was coined during this period to describe impoverished people who drank these wines solely for their inebriating effect.[14]

These wines continue to be associated with the homeless, mainly because marketers have been aggressive in targeting low-income communities as ideal consumers of these beverages; organizations in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland have urged makers of inexpensive fortified wine, including E & J Gallo Winery, to stop providing such products to liquor stores in impoverished areas.[15] In 2005, the Seattle City Council asked the Washington State Liquor Control Board to prohibit the sale of certain alcohol products in an impoverished "Alcohol Impact Area." Among the products sought to be banned were over two dozen beers, and six fortified wines: Cisco, Gino's Premium Blend, MD 20/20, Night Train, Thunderbird, and Wild Irish Rose.[16] The Liquor Control Board approved these restrictions on August 30, 2006.[17]

Terminology

Fortified wines are often termed dessert wines in the United States to avoid association with hard drinking.[18] The term "Vins de liqueur" is used by the French.[19] Under European Union legislation, a liqueur wine is a fortified wine that contains not less than 17.5% abv (except for certain quality liqueur wines) and that meets many additional criteria.[20]

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ Lichine, Alexis (1987). Alexis Lichine’s New Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits (5th ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 236. ISBN 0394562623. 
  2. ^ a b c Robinson, J., ed (2006). The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 279. ISBN 0198609906. 
  3. ^ ‘Mistela’ in Oxford Companion to Wine, ed. by Jancis Robinson, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), s.v.
  4. ^ "mistelle Definition in the Wine Dictionary at Epicurious.com". www.epicurious.com. http://www.epicurious.com/tools/winedictionary/entry?id=7179. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  5. ^ "Production of Fortified Wines - DiWineTaste". www.diwinetaste.com. http://www.diwinetaste.com/dwt/en2004126.php. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  6. ^ a b c Wordsworth Dictionary of Drink: An A ... - Google Book Search. books.google.co.uk. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5X6oVI-qngwC&pg=PA384&dq=Marsala+wine. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  7. ^ Thomas Jefferson on wine - Google Book Search. books.google.co.uk. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7bIfz0aP0cYC&pg=PA306&dq=Marsala+wine. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  8. ^ Porter, Darwin; Price, Danforth (2000). Frommer's Portugal (16th ed.). IDG Books Worldwide. ISBN 0-02-863601-5. 
  9. ^ Spanish law
  10. ^ Clarke, Paul (2008-08-15). "The Truth About Vermouth: The secret ingredient in today's top cocktails remains misunderstood". The San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/15/WI0111LMMB.DTL. 
  11. ^ Bartending For Dummies - Google Book Search. http://books.google.com/books?id=Jv7BMDNaWGsC&pg=PA112&dq=Vermouth#PPA112,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  12. ^ The Wines of Champagne, Burgundy ... - Google Book Search. books.google.co.uk. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EczgQ7PLGVkC&pg=PA268&dq=Vin+doux+naturel. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  13. ^ thewinedoctor.com
  14. ^ Zraly, Kevin (2006). Kevin Zraly's American Wine Guide. New York: Sterling. p. 238. ISBN 140272585X. 
  15. ^ Jorgensen, Janice (1993). Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands: Consumable Products. Detroit: St. James Press. p. 492. ISBN 1558623361. 
  16. ^ "City could soon widen alcohol impact areas". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. December 7, 2005. http://www.seattlepi.com/local/251134_alcohol07.html. 
  17. ^ Seattle's Alcohol Impact Areas: The Extended Central Core AIA, City of Seattle website.
  18. ^ A companion to California wine: an ... - Google Book Search. http://books.google.com/books?id=GhJJElLJn5cC&pg=PA120&dq=%E2%80%9Cfortified+wine%E2%80%9D++New+Encyclopedia+of+Wines+%26+Spirits#PPA119,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  19. ^ Wine travel guide to the world - Google Book Search. http://books.google.com/books?id=8G5aWddvUh4C&pg=PA36&dq=vin+de+liqueur. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  20. ^ COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1493/1999 of 17 May 1999; Annex I, §14 (European Union document). See page 40.

External links



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • fortified wine — fortified wines N MASS Fortified wine is an alcoholic drink such as sherry or port that is made by mixing wine with a small amount of brandy or strong alcohol …   English dictionary

  • fortified wine — n [U and C] wine such as ↑sherry or ↑port that has strong alcohol added …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • fortified wine — n. any wine, as sherry, port, or Madeira, to which grape brandy or other alcohol has been added to raise its alcoholic content to between 14 and 24 percent by volume …   English World dictionary

  • fortified wine — noun wine to which alcohol (usually grape brandy) has been added • Hypernyms: ↑wine, ↑vino • Hyponyms: ↑Madeira, ↑port, ↑port wine, ↑sherry, ↑Marsala, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • fortified wine — UK [ˌfɔː(r)tɪfaɪd ˈwaɪn] / US [ˌfɔrtɪfaɪd ˈwaɪn] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms fortified wine : singular fortified wine plural fortified wines an alcoholic drink made by adding a small amount of brandy or other alcoholic drink to wine.… …   English dictionary

  • fortified wine — for|ti|fied wine [ ,fɔrtıfaıd waın ] noun count or uncount an alcoholic drink made by adding a small amount of BRANDY or other alcoholic drink to wine. Sherry and port are fortified wines …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • fortified wine — noun A wine to which additional ethanol (an alcohol) has been added, the most common additive being brandy (a spirit distilled from wine). Syn: dessert wine, liqueur wine See Also: bum wine, wino wine …   Wiktionary

  • fortified wine — for′tified wine′ n. vin a wine, as port or sherry, to which brandy has been added to arrest fermentation or increase alcoholic content …   From formal English to slang

  • fortified wine — noun Date: circa 1906 a wine (as sherry) to which alcohol usually in the form of grape brandy has been added during or after fermentation …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • fortified wine — a wine, as port or sherry, to which brandy has been added in order to arrest fermentation or to increase the alcoholic content. [1905 10] * * * …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”