So, a blog about sweet and fortified wines, possibly the most under appreciated and least popular styles of wine in the country. I may be vying for the fewest-readers-of-a-blog-in-history award, but I hope not. Because within these categories are some of the finest, most complex wines made, many with the potential to age for decades (Madeiras and some Sauternes can last for more than a century). They are often painstakingly difficult to make, requiring enormous investment of effort, time and care on the part of the winemaker.
With nearly every wine-producing country in the world making a sweet or fortified wine, each with its own distinctive grape or winemaking method, the list of wines is long: off-dry Chenin Blancs from the Loire Valley, fortified port-like Banyuls from the south of France, luscious dessert wines from Tokaji, Hungary, long-lived Madeiras from Portugal, late-harvest Rieslings from Germany and botrytised dessert wines from Sauternes in Bordeaux. That’s just a small sample. It seems a shame then to let these wonderful wines go unappreciated. There is a time and a place for every style of wine and that holds true for sweet and fortified wines as well. My aim here is to explore the possibilities and shine a spotlight on these delicious, finely crafted, artisanal wines. I hope you’ll find ways to incorporate them into your life and seek out this section on the wine list the next time you go to a restaurant. Mostly, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.