Our understanding is that these are “fortified” beverages made by blending wines with brandies, which are a distilled product with a higher alcohol content. Whereas wines tend to be 12% alcohol by volume (plus or minus 2%), ports and sherries can be 16 – 20% alcohol by volume. Ports are famous for improving with age. Some are only brought to market after aging for many, many years. Others can be bought “young” and stored away to improve for years or decades. Linda is not particularly fond of this category, but Bruce is!
Lustau Old East India Sherry – One of Bruce’s all-time favorites, he was introduced to this by a friend in the 1980’s. A strong nose, it’s like drinking liquid raisins.
Melange (Peninsula Cellars, Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan) – Cherry wines are tricky, and many that we have tried have been just too much cherry. But this wine is rich, complex, and wonderful. Unfortunately it is also sold out. From their website: “A port style wine, made from Ulster black sweet cherries and grape brandy. The flavors of rich black sweet cherries are balanced by the high alcohol brandy, creating a delightful complement to chocolate desserts.“