Port, Sherry, Madeira, Banyuls, and Marsala all hover in that all-inclusive dessert category of wine that most casual wine drinkers don’t take the time to ponder, leaving the dirty work to sommeliers and wine retailers. Others reach for these wines only when they’re busy in the kitchen, looking for something to deglaze a pan or to enrich a sauce for braised meats. While these wines definitely serve a culinary purpose, there’s so much more to explore within this often overlooked category of wine miscellany.
So what do all of these wines have in common and what makes them different from other popular dessert wines like Moscato d’Asti or Sauternes, for example? One word: Fortification. (more…)