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Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition panel review of Tawny Port (see blue link below).

Sogevinus Barros 10yo Tawny - January 2018 Decanter review

Having celebrated their 100th year of trading in 2013, Barros Port is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious companies producing and trading in Port. Much of their success comes from Colheita Ports - old Tawnies from a single year matured in cask for a minimum period of seven years.

Hand-harvested at their best moment, the grapes are destemmed, crushed and vinified in a careful maceration with extraction of colour, tannins and pellicle aromas, complemented by permanent pumping-over during fermentation. This process takes place in vats at a controlled temperature between 28-30ºC. At this phase grape brandy is added, creating a fortified wine. A wine of an exceptional quality, obtained by the selection of several harvests. It is matured in wood for variable periods of time and  the age mentioned on the label is an average age of the different wines used in blending this port. This is instrumental in the wine expressing its character which is influenced by the ageing in oak casks.

With a brown-tawny colour, the nose is dense with dried fruit aromas, with delicate vanilla and chocolate notes. The soft and silky texture and the subtle nuances of wood are balanced by a fresh acidity which culminates with a long and elegant finish.

When served slightly chilled, it is the ideal choice to serve with appetizers like strong cheeses. The velvety texture and the  aromatic expressions stand-out remarkably with main courses with dried fruits. Irresistible with pate as well as aubergine and nuts. Wonderful choice to serve with a myriad of delicious caramel brownies, chocolate and pistachio pavê and nuts crostini with goats cheese.

£20.60

Barroubio Muscat De Saint Jean De Minervois 2016 (1 x 75cl)

Domaine de Barroubio is located on a high plateau in the department of Hérault in the commune of Saint Jean de Minervois, a viticultural area famed for the Muscat grape. The vineyards, which lie at an altitude of 250m above sea level, face south for maximum sun exposure. Owner and winemaker Raymond Miquel has built a reputation for the fine quality of his Muscats.

The owner of the estate, Raymond Miquel, is instrumental in the winemaking process. He subjects the grapes to organoleptic analysis when they are on the vine to ensure the optimum balance of sugars, acidity and phenolic maturity. The fruit is then hand-harvested and sorted. Fermentation is carried out at low temperature (11°C) until ideal residual sweetness is achieved (135g/l), at which point the fermentation is arrested by fortifying with grape spirit.

This fortified sweet wine - vin doux naturel - is shimmering golden in the glass with an intense, complex nose of grapes, pear, rose petals and citrus. On the palate it is sweet, rich, powerful with a balancing zesty acidity on the long finish.

This intensely aromatic sweet wine should be served very cold and will pair well with strongly flavoured foods from paté to chocolate cake.

£17.95

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV (1x 37.5cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Weekday Wines (25 under £25)" (see blue link below)...

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV - August 2018 Decanter review

The 6th generation of the Chambers family to make wine in the Rosewood winery, Stephen, took over the winemaking in 2001. This venerable winery, started in 1858 by William Chambers, is one of the most fabled in Rutherglen. This charming, northeastern Victorian town, the sort of place that time forgot, still speaks of the gold rush that led to the town's foundation, and the development of the wine industry, in the 1850s. 

The vineyards are located on the fringes of the Rutherglen Township, slightly to the North West, where Chambers produce drier style Muscats which express rose petal characters. The vines are hand pruned to a rod and spur system which allows each vine to be viewed on an individual basis. The trellising system is a single wire with a sprawling canopy.

Harvest of the grapes for this wine commences once the fruit reaches a ripeness of 16 Baumé. At this stage the grapes will have some variation throughout the bunches, with some being plump, while others showing signs of grape shrivel. Once a parcel of grape is harvested, it is destemmed and the must placed into a closed stainless steel fermentation tank. The amount of fermentation is dependent upon the final baumé level of the parcel, and it occurs around 24 hours after harvest and a soak on skins. Once fermentation has commenced and the sugar level has fallen to between 14 and 15 baumé the grapes are pressed with the fermenting juice and fortified with neutral grape wine spirit (95.8 to 96.2%). The resultant wine is then settled in stainless steel tanks and then racked into old oak casks, which range in size between 220 to 5500 litres. The wines are kept as single vintage and vineyard parcels until blending.

The Rutherglen Muscat is typically tawny red in colour with aromas of rose petals, raisins and dried fruit. These characters carry through to the palate, balanced with fresh acidity. The wine is unctuous and rich yet zesty and balanced.

£12.10

Fonseca Crusted (1x75cl)

Powerful aromatic bouquet. Dark berry fruits on the nose and mouth. Great layers of complexity and flavour. Plump raisin, spice, eucalyptus notes as well as the berry fruit flavours. An elegant and finely balanced wine.
Serving Suggestions
Fonseca Crusted is the perfect finish to any meal. It benefits from being decanted and should be served in a generously proportioned wine glass so that its rich fruity nose can be enjoyed to the full. Excellent with fully flavoured cheeses. It is also delicious with desserts made with chocolate or berry fruits.

£16.70

Fonseca Vintage Port 1985 (1x 75cl)

Vintage Ports represent the finest produce of a single exceptional year. Unlike Ports which age in wood, Vintage Ports will continue to age and improve in bottle for decades, their character bearing the imprint of both vineyard and wine maker.
Fonseca Vintage Ports are released only when a year produces outstanding wines with long term ageing potential. These classic Vintage Ports are a blend of wines from Cruzeiro, Santo Antonio and Panascal. Cruzeiro contributes concentrated black fruit flavours and firm tannic 'grip'. Panascal adds an opulent luscious fruitiness and a dense velvety texture. Finally, Santo Antonio brings complexity and vibrancy with its fine scented character and fresh acidity.

£72.30

Morris Old Premium Rare Muscat (1x50cl)

Awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

For over 155 years, the Morris family have earned their position as one of the most prominent winemaking families in Australia, with their name being synonymous with ‘Liqueur Muscat’ for many years. Today, David Morris, the fifth generation of the family to run the winery, ensures the Morris name remains one of Australia’s most respected.

Located in the Rutherglen region of North-East Victoria, the Morris of Rutherglen have 80 hectares of easterly facing vineyards which are planted on red loam over red/yellow poldzotic clay soils. The red loam helps produce red wines with greater flavour and richness. The vineyards gently slope, with the earlier budburst varieties being planted on the higher slopes and the later budburst varieties on the lower slopes (175m in altitude). The vines are grown on a single wire trellis 900mm high and are hand-pruned using the rod and spur method, whilst only being reliant on natural rainfall. This produces lower-cropping vines that offer fruit of high sugar levels and concentrated flavours.

95% Muscat à Petit Grains. Grapes were selected for harvesting between 15 to 16 Baumé. In the winery, they were crushed and allowed to start fermentation. The fruit had considerable hang time on the vine allowing for high sugar levels and intense flavours to develop. Once the desired baume level was reached, pressing occurred, and a high strength neutral spirit was added to arrest fermentation, before being transferred into casks for maturation. Only the best wines from the best vintages were chosen to blend the Old Premium Rare Muscat; a true art of balancing very old and much younger material.

The older vines impart intense, concentrated and luscious flavours with aged complexity to this wine. These are complimented by fresh fruit characters from the younger wines. In the glass, the wine is a dark olive brown with a green tinge on the rim. An intense bouquet of raisin fruit and soft woody characters delight the nose. The palate shows great depth, length and complexity with rich and luscious flavours of sweet spices, dried raisins and Christmas pudding.

£77.90

Sandeman Vintage 2016 Port (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 edition vintage report of 2016 Port (see blue link below).

Sandeman Vintage 2016 Port - December 2018 Decanter review

Subject to a 18.5/20 review by Richard Hemming in Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages on the 24th May 2018 (click blue link below).

Sandeman Vintage 2016 Port - Jancis review

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves on both the vintage and the Port/wine itself.

Sandeman Vintage 2016 Port - fiche technique

Opaque with an almost black colour the wine has intense, complex aroma. Ripe black fruit, cocoa and chocolate flavours continue on to the palate where some floral notes of rockrose are also apparent in a long, lingering finish. Firm tannins,full-bodied and with fresh acidity it has structure that will allow the wine to age comfortably for decades.

£61.50

Skillogalee Liqueur Muscat (1x 75cl)

When Dave and Diana Palmer left the UK, it was supposed to be a three-year stint in Papua New Guinea, where Dave had found a job. Six years later, work took them to Canberra until, three years further on, Dave resigned to set up his own business. By this point, Skillogalee had already entered their lives, mainly because they’d drunk plenty of it with the eldest son of the owners, and sold it at a festival. Then they heard that the winery was up for sale…so naturally they sold the house and the sports car, packed up the kids and the cat, and moved to South Australia.

What drew them to this small corner of the Clare Valley? Beyond the wines, it was possibly the mature, established vineyards, beautifully contoured and equipped to produce everything from aromatic Riesling and Gewürztraminer to full-flavoured Cabernet and Shiraz, plus lusciously sweet liqueur Muscat. But they were following in earlier English footsteps too. Skillogalee was given its name by Lancashire-born explorer John Horrocks after a troubled expedition into the Flinders Ranges when skillogalee – a Celtic name for a thin gruel – was all they had left to eat. Meanwhile, Trevarrick – Skillogalee’s finest Riesling – comes from the property’s original name, Trevarrick Farm, given to it in 1851 by Cornish miner John Trestrail – who built the stone cottage which still serves as Skillogalee’s cellar door.

This fortified wine is made in the same way that tawny port is made. It is a blend of different vintages all made from fruit growing on Skillogalee vineyards.  These separate wines are fermented and fortified and left to age in oak puncheons (500L).  The current blend is made from 1992 and 1993 vintages predominantly, with a little older material to contribute some aged, rancio character and some younger wine to give freshness and lift.

To name a wine with the prefix “liqueur” it must have at least 17% alcohol and 11% residual sugar.  Their new release Muscat, like earlier blends, readily satisfies these criteria.  It is bright, red/amber in colour with a light young sweet raisin nose.  The palate shows nutty raisin apricot flavours, very full and sweet but not cloying. The finish is lingering – very smooth and liqueur-like!

Around 2000 litres are made each year depending on the vintage.

£30.00

Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado (1x75cl)

Valdespino is one of the oldest and very few family-owned bodegas in Jerez, with a history of Sherry production going back six centuries. Alfonso Valdespino was one of 24 knights who fought for the city of Jerez with King Alfonso X, against the Arabs in 1264. As a reward for his efforts he was given land in the Jerez region. Today Valdespino belongs to the Estevez family, and they own 750 hectares of their own vineyards in Jerez, which is rare in this region, and allows them close control over grape quality. 

The soil where the Pedro Ximénez grapes are grown in the Jerez region is high in silica and calcic carbonate. It is deep and has a good oxygen content, and produces grapes with high sugar levels.

When the Pedro Ximénez grapes are harvested, they are left out in the sun to dry for at least two weeks. This concentrates the sugars through evaporation, turning them to raisins. A very sweet must is then obtained through pressing, which is fermented and then fortified to around 17%, using grape spirit of 96%. The wine is then aged in a Solera system made up of three ‘criadera‘ and a solera, made from American oak casks, and fractionally blended. The wine is aged 100% oxidatively and has an average age of ten years. The final wine must meet requirements to show standard characteristics and parameters expected of a Pedro Ximénez sherry. 

A deep mahogany colour. Intense aromas of dried fruits, raisins, figs, and subtle notes of chocolate and coffee. Smooth and velvety on the palate, with great length and balance.

£19.70

Bodegas Hidalgo Prestigio Amontillado Seco Napoleon (1x 50cl)

Established in 1792, Bodegas Hidalgo is one of the oldest Sherry producers in existence, it is widely regarded as the definitive Manzanilla house. Passing down from generation to generation, continuity and quality have always been the most important themes for the company, which today uses only grapes from their own vineyards in Jérez Superior.

Amontillado Seco Napoleón is originally aged to become a Manzanilla using the traditional solera system in casks of American oak. However, certain casks show a deeper, nuttier character, and are transferred to a separate solera to age oxidatively, as part of the Amontillado blend. The name originates from the days of the Peninsula War, when the Hidalgo’s sold wine both to the French and the British! See also Jerez Cortado ‘Welllington’.

Hues of mahogany and rich hazelnut aromas. Full and long on the palate with subtle nuttiness and a dry and refined finish. Excellent with nuts in particular and suits all pre-dinner nibbles better than any other. Lovely with patê and hard cheeses. Do not over-chill in order to appreciate the more delicate flavours of this wine.

£11.50

Bodegas Hidalgo Prestigio Oloroso Seco Faraon (1x 50cl)

Established in 1792, Bodegas Hidalgo is one of the oldest Sherry producers in existence, it is widely regarded as the definitive Manzanilla house. Passing down from generation to generation, continuity and quality have always been the most important themes for the company, which today uses only grapes from their own vineyards in Jérez Superior.

The ‘Faraon’ is the head of an Andalusian gypsy family. Oloroso Seco Faraon is aged oxidatively for several years in butts of American oak. The grapes are sourced exclusively from our own vineyards in Balbaina and Miraflores. Matured in casks of American oak in a “solera” or “fractional blending” system, in the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, maturation is an oxidative process; no flor grows since the wine is fortified after vinification. Then follows an average of seven years of ageing in cask, to give a dry and wonderfully complex wine. 

Intensely rich pervading walnut aromas. The palate is dry, intense, rich and deep with a long and powerful flavour. Faraon works well as a pungent aperitif, but is also great with many foods: Tapas, soup, dry cheeses and even beef.

£11.95

Curatolo Arini Marsala Fine (1x 75cl)

Established in 1875 by Vito Curatolo Arini, the winery is now run by the fifth generation of Curatolos, making it the oldest family-owned Marsala producing business. Their stunning label was designed by Ernesto Basile, a famous architect in Palermo in the latter part of the 19th century and is very much in the art deco style. The new range of wines under the Curatolo Arini label showcases a great expression of native Sicilian varieties.

Light wines from local grapes Grillo, Inzolia, and Cataratto are fortified with white grape spirits in the traditional way and are then cask aged.

Made in the traditional way, the Marsala Fine is dry in style and has all the characteristics of good Marsala with notes of toasted almonds, citrus and caramel.

£10.45

Curatolo Arini Marsala Superiore Dolce (1x 75cl)

Established in 1875 by Vito Curatolo Arini, the winery is now run by the fifth generation of Curatolos, making it the oldest family-owned Marsala producing business. Their stunning label was designed by Ernesto Basile, a famous architect in Palermo in the latter part of the 19th century and is very much in the art deco style. The new range of wines under the Curatolo Arini label showcases a great expression of native Sicilian varieties.

Temperature controlled slow fermentation at 20-25°C. The base wine is 12% in alcohol and has a minimum residual sugar level of 20 grams per litre. Alcohol, mistella (fresh grape must with added alcohol) and mosto cotto (concentrated fresh grape must which is traditionally "cooked" until it reduces to a third of its initial volume) are then added to the base wine, giving it a final alcohol content of 17%, the desired sugar level and the traditional flavour. The wine is then aged for over five years (minimum two years by law) in 150 hectolitre Slovenian oak casks.

Dark amber in colour, with aromas of dried figs, sultanas and caramel. This wine is round and soft on the palate with fresh notes of dried fruit, nuts and honeysuckle with a pleasant, sweet and clean finish.

£12.90

Curatolo Arini Marsala Superiore Riserva (1x 75cl)

Established in 1875 by Vito Curatolo Arini, the winery is now run by the fifth generation of Curatolos, making it the oldest family-owned Marsala producing business. Their stunning label was designed by Ernesto Basile, a famous architect in Palermo in the latter part of the 19th century and is very much in the art deco style. The new range of wines under the Curatolo Arini label showcases a great expression of native Sicilian varieties.

Light wines from local grapes Grillo, Inzolia, and Cataratto are fortified with white grape spirit in the traditional way. The wines are then aged for about 10 years (the minimum legal requirement for 'Superiore' status is 4 years) in large Slovenian oak casks.

The Marsala Riserva Superiore is richer, more concentrated and elegant than the Fine. It has notes of dates, sultanas and toasted almonds and a long, smooth finish.

£15.20

Fonseca Aged Tawny 10 Years Old (1x 50cl)

The purchase of 32 pipes of Port from the Real Companhia Velha in 1815 began the story of one of the great names of Port, Fonseca, and the story of five great families of the Douro Valley. The Fonsecas and the Monteiros, who originally established the business, the Guimaraens who built the firm’s reputation as a ‘First Growth’ vintage Port producer, the Yeatmans who steered the company into a new millennium, and the Taylor’s Port family who have brought Fonseca successfully into its third century.

During the January following each vintage, Fonseca sets aside a reserve of very concentrated, powerful vintage quality red ports, selected primarily from the firm’s own quintas and judged according to their ageing potential. These are placed in cask and cellared. Tawny ports of age are blended across several vintages to maintain quality and continuity of style, and thus show an “apparent”, or average, age on the label rather than a vintage date. As tawny ports age, they grow lighter in colour, as they throw their deposit in the cask rather than in the bottle. Moreover, Fonseca cellars its aged tawnies in the Douro rather than in Vila Nova de Gaia; the considerable difference in heat and humidity between these two areas lends Fonseca’s tawny ports of age a very distinctive “baked” richness reminiscent of butterscotch.

This port is a russet color with brilliant crimson highlights and a fragrant, ripe-fruit bouquet. Its smooth, silky texture and subtle oak nuances are balanced by a fresh acidity and tannic ‘grip’ that culminate in a long, elegant finish. How to serve Chill to just below cellar temperature (about 10ºC). In summer, serve at the end of the meal as a refreshing alternative or try as one of the few dessert wines to match chocolate.

£16.35
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