There is no better wine for cooking than a fortified wine. With a little added brandy or other liquor to boost the alcoholic content, these wines have a deep and concentrated flavor, as well as a longer shelf life—which means purchasing a quality bottle now will pay off in the long run. But with so many options, which one is the right choice?
Port, Sherry and Marsala are the most popular types of fortified wine, but we’ll let you in on a little secret: to find the best wines, look for just three little letters: PDO or DOC.
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) means the wines are genuine versions of the product, crafted in a specific region of the world.
Finding a wine that is verified by DOC means that it is a genuine product, and you can be assured it has developed character and flavor from being crafted in the time-honored tradition of the people who have been making it for centuries.
What is the difference between Sherry, Port and Marsala?
Sherry is made in Andalusia, Spain and can be made both dry and sweet. Port comes from a province in Portugal, and is a sweet, fortified red wine—the sweetness is usually too overpowering when used in cooking applications. The best Marsala wines come from the region of Italy where the wine gets its name, the area surrounding the city of Marsala. Unlike sherry and port, Marsala has a unique complexity that sets it apart, and since it is made in both dry and sweet varieties, it the perfect choice for cooking, from sweet to savory meals.
Our favorite Marsala is Colombo Marsala, made in the DOC region of Italy. The wine stands up well to heat, heightening the complex flavors developed during its two-year aging process in oak barrels. It is especially impressive when used in Italian dishes. As an authentic Italian product, it allows you to create dishes at home using the same ingredient that Italian chefs and home cooks have depended on for centuries. When making classic dishes like chicken or veal Marsala, adding a snappy note to a stew, or even just deglazing a pan, Colombo Fine Dry Marsala is a must. In sweet applications, Colombo Fine Sweet Marsala adds an intensity and richness to cooked fruit, and a bright note to quintessential Italian desserts like tiramisu and zabaglione.
For recipes to try with your new fortified wine, visit colombowine.com.