Port and Muscat, along with Tokay (now known as “Topaque”) are fortified wines
Fortified wine are wines that has had spirit added during the wine making process. Australia makes great fortified wines – try a sip after dinner. Unlike most wines, once you open a fortified wine it will keep for days and maybe weeks.
The name “Port” comes from Oporto in Portugal and is now one of the names banned from Australian wines because it is a European place name (similarly to Champagne). Generally Aussie examples have their own brand name and don’t mention the word Port any more. Many are called “Tawny”, which reflects their brown colour after being aged for some time in barrels. These wines offer a nutty silky taste.
Tawnys are a blend of multiple vintages. Fortified wines of a single vintage are quite rare; they have a more tannic aggressive taste unless they are really old when they become soft. Muscat is a grape that lends itself to being fortified. Great examples originate in the Rutherglen region of Victoria and Barossa Valley of South Australia. They are luscious and rich. Tokay, or Topaque, is made of Muscadelle grapes and offers a strong rich raising character.
Good examples of Australian fortified wines include; Dutschke Muscat (RRP$22), Grant Burge Aged Tawny (RRP$15) and Peter Lehmann “The King” Vintage, a port-style fortified wine (RRP$21), all from the Barossa Valley and Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat (RRP$18) and Seppeltsfield No 6 Tokay (RRP$12), both from Rutherglen in Victoria.
Andrew Corrigan is a Master of Wine. Wines available from www.wineexperience.com.au.