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Have a sweet tooth?

a glass of port wineAll of the fortified wines (meaning that brandy has been added to them after fermentation) are by their nature thick and smooth in texture and sweet in taste.

However, don't let those qualities lull you into thinking fortified wines are lightweights. With a near-20 percent alcohol content, fortified wines also pack a punch.

While they are not usually served with meals due to their strong flavor, these wines may complement food in other ways.

A dash of Marsala wine, for example, is a good addition to simmering meat dishes and most famously incorporated into savory Chicken Marsala. Port wine is also traditionally used as mouth-watering wine reduction sauce dribbled over filet mignon.

For imbibing purposes, fortified wines are best served during the dessert course, or after dinner when relaxed conversation and a good sipping wine -- neat or over ice -- can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Like French Champagne's strict control over their product name, wine beverages dubbed sherry can only come from Spain, and port from the Douro in Portugal ....

More about fortified wines around the Web:

Into Wine - Enjoying Port
Check out the full port report -- with an illustrated history, an overview of the Duoro Valley region, pronunciation guide, lists of the major port groups and houses, descriptions of the different vintages plus tips on serving and storage, and more on Marsala and other fortified wines.

Port Wine - A good read with an illustrated narrative describing the fermentation process, taste notes for various port varieties, a list of authorized red grapes used in its making and a port glossary of terms.

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