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Fortify one bottle of wine

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Kalaloch

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Ok I know this is weird, but after bottling my wine I have one more bottle left that is 3/4 full with wine. I have wanted to try my hand at fortifying wine and though I'd take this opportunity and just screw around and try fortifying just this one bottle.

I am ok with this being a best guess effort and not worried if it doesn't turn out great since it is only one bottle but if it could turn out good that is even better. So I wanted some best estimates on how much to fortify it and sweeten it. I know I could use Pearson's Square but I still cannot figure it out. So here are some specs on this bottle of wine

Blackberry Wine, 14% ABV (wine is stabilized)

Bottling in 750 ml wine bottle

Going to fortify with Bacardi Superior Rum 80 proof

I know the rum my not be the best choice to fortify but it is all I have. I'd like it to retain some of the wine characteristics but don't want it to just taste like a flavored rum liquore. Ok so I've never actually tasted a fortified wine so I have no idea what it is suppose to taste like or how sweet it should be - I don't want ultra sweet.

I was thinking of using 1/2 cup of the rum and one tablespoon of simple syrup to sweeten. Does that sound ok?

Please give me your best guess on how you'd fortify and sweeten 1 bottle of wine.
 

jgmillr1

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Based on the info you provided, I'll chime in. I've made blackberry dessert wines for a few years.

The half cup of 80-proof spirits will get the wine into a typical fortified wine range around 20% ABV. No clue how the rum will affect the flavor. It could be good with a touch of caramel and sweetness. I use neutral grape spirits (190proof) to minimize the flavors from the spirits and emphasize those from the blackberry.

I'm more doubtful about the sugar content though. I personally prefer dry bold wines but found the high alcohol, fruit and acid levels required significant sugar to balance. I ended up going with upwards of 8+% sugar in the wine. This would mean something like 4tbsp of your simple syrup.
 
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GeneDaniels1963

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A fortified wine is not just high alcohol, the alcohol is added when it is still fermenting, to stop fermentation and to keep the wine sweeter. So adding alcohol after fermentation is done will NOT produce a fortified wine.

You could add syrup or something else to backsweeten the wine before adding the alcohol, but that is uncharted territory.I would suggest you mix that last bottle with another wine of similar character rather than adding brandy.

Just my 2 cents worth
 

Broosmith

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Yes that is the traditional method for making a port style wine. However, fortified wines (by definition) are fortified with spirits.
Thats exactly what genedaniels1963 just said. Fortified wines are created by adding spirit to stop the fermentation at the desired sweetness. Not just adding spirits to wine at some random point but as part of the fermentation process.
 

GeneDaniels1963

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Yes that is the traditional method for making a port style wine. However, fortified wines (by definition) are fortified with spirits.
Just did a bit more reading, and you are exactly right. A "port" is a wine that spirits are used to end fermentation while is has residual sweetness. "Fortified" is a wine that spirits are added to after fermentation is complete. I had wrongly assumed the words were synonyms, but they are not.

I have made a few ports, and they turned out good. But I honestly cannot imagine why anyone would want to fortify a completely dry wine. Seems the alcohol taste would be overwhelming. Of course, to each their own.
 

jgmillr1

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A "port" is a wine that spirits are used to end fermentation while is has residual sweetness.
Plus you can't call it a "port" unless it's made in Portugal. This makes for some consumer confusion since the TTB won't let wines be called "fortified" either since it emphasizes the strength of the alcohol. Hence the unloved term of "dessert wine" is used.

But I honestly cannot imagine why anyone would want to fortify a completely dry wine.
I make a fortified blackberry dessert wine by fermenting it dry and then adding spirits (and sugar). The reason for not adding spirits during fermentation is that the amount of spirits needed would dilute the blackberry flavors too much for me.
 

GeneDaniels1963

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I make a fortified blackberry dessert wine by fermenting it dry and then adding spirits (and sugar). The reason for not adding spirits during fermentation is that the amount of spirits needed would dilute the blackberry flavors too much for me.
Just curious, how would adding spirits during fermentaton dilute the blackberry? It seems to me that it would keep more berry flavor because al the berry sugars have not yet been converted?

When I make such a wine, I set a target SG for when I will add. But I taste it first to make sure that is what I want. I usually set a range of SG, then taste test starting at the high end of the range so I can hit the right "sweet spot."
 

jgmillr1

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Just curious, how would adding spirits during fermentaton dilute the blackberry? It seems to me that it would keep more berry flavor because al the berry sugars have not yet been converted?
I just found that the flavor overall was better after adding the spirits later in this case. Adding spirits during fermentation would require about 15% of the volume of the wine, whereas adding it after fermentation would only be about 10% volume. It is not a huge difference but it requires less spirits and, frankly, I felt that the spirits I was working with had some off-notes like ethyl acetate or something. Although I had bought the spirits under bond from a licensed distillery, I suspect they were made from flawed wine. It figures that you won't distill your best stuff.

There is another local distillery I'll work with next time for the spirits and plan to add them during fermentation. I agree that the less time the wine ferments, the more fruit flavors and natural sugars are preserved. So it should make for a better port-style wine.

When I make such a wine, I set a target SG for when I will add. But I taste it first to make sure that is what I want. I usually set a range of SG, then taste test starting at the high end of the range so I can hit the right "sweet spot."
That's a good and careful way to do it.
 
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