One of the oldest and most wonderful fortified wines made is a Sherry. Fortified, which means that some extra alcohol is added to it, typically bringing it up to somewhere between 15% and 18%...more than table wine, but not as much as Port. It is usually made from Palomino grapes, but a grape called Pedro Ximenez sometimes plays a role.
Most of the Sherry consumed in Spain looks like white wine, and has a small percentage increase in alcohol when compared to white wine. When a Fino ages for some time, it picks up a light-brown color, with a hint of nuts. It goes well with poultry, steaks, and roasted birds, so consider a bottle on your next Thanksgiving table.
Another Sherry category is Oloroso, which tends to be even more brown, with hints of butterscotch and caramel, but is not overly sweet. Sherry producers often add a sweeter wine, made from Pedro Ximenez grapes, to their dry Olorosos, creating a wine that is definitely sweet called Cream Sherry. It is probably the type of Sherry you've most often seen in your wine shop.
Lastly, is Pedro Ximenez. It is like dark, thick, very sweet prune juice. It is actually better than it sounds and also goes well with roasted meats and poultry.
Contributor: Debbie Parker (Miami Springs, FL)