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This winter, spice up your sipping routine with an often-overlooked category of libations: fortified wines. All are perfect as after-dinner drinks, with some versatile enough to sip before and during meals
from Left to Right Warre’s Otima 20- Year Tawny Porto NV (Portugal), $37: This award-winning port has flavors of candied orange and lime, as well as hazelnuts. Aged for 20 years in specially seasoned oak casks to create a smooth and velvety texture, it can also be enjoyed as an aperitif. Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry NV (Spain), $12: Developed in the late 1800s, this wine quickly became a best seller, featuring three different styles of sherry that offer flavors of vanilla bean, toasted caramel, and orange rind. Drink it neat or on the rocks with a slice of orange. Fonseca Porto Bin No. 27 Premium Reserve NV (Portugal), $19: This full-bodied wine was created for the Fonsecas’ personal use more than a century ago and wasn’t released to the public until the 1970s. Exceptional quality makes it a favorite among port drinkers, who enjoy the flavors of black currant and cherry. Pellegrino Dry Marsala Superiore NV (Italy), $12: Located on the island of Sicily, Marsala produces the country’s most famous fortified wines. This one is aged for two years in oak, giving it flavors of fruits and nutty toffee that pair well with salty Italian foods, such as prosciutto-topped pizza. The Rare Wine Company Historic Series “Charleston” Sercial Madeira NV (Portugal), $58: As the driest and lightest of Madeiras, the Sercial style became popular in Charleston during the 18th century. With honey and caramel on the nose and dried figs and honey on the palate, this wine is a nice accompaniment to dessert.
Written by Claire Cunningham; Photographs (4) by Elizabeth Gouldon; Marsala Photograph provided by Pellegrino; wine bottles courtesy of The Tavern.