There are many different styles of fortified wine but, essentially, these are wines which have been strengthened by the addition of spirit made from distilled grape material, thus giving these wines a high alcohol content (17-22% Alc).

Winemakers can add different types of spirit in order to impart certain flavours. For example, some spirits can be relatively neutral, nutty or spicy. The type of oak casks used and the length of time spent in these casks, also contribute to the flavour of the wine.

At Stanton and Killeen, our fortified wines fall under two categories.

Firstly, our Vintage Fortified (previously known as Vintage Port before the European Union naming regulations came into force) is of one year or “vintage”, stored for around twelve months and then bottled. The wine is then aged in the bottle and may last for thirty years or more. It is up to the consumer to decide when they will open this wine; some people like them young and fresh, others prefer the rich, spirited flavours of older “VP’s”. Once opened, it is best to consume a Vintage Fortified within a few days; otherwise the wine will become oxidized just like a table wine.

In contrast, our Tawnys, Topaques (previously known as Tokay) and Muscats have been aged in barrels over many years and subsequently have already been exposed to air. That means that you can open one of these bottles and continue to consume it over a period of several months. However, the first few weeks are when one can enjoy the maximum freshness of these stunning wines. We bottle these wines in small amounts to achieve maximum freshness as we have already aged these wines in barrels for you; therefore there is no need to cellar a ‘Grand Muscat’ or ‘Classic Topaque’. No further ageing will occur in the bottle. Vintage Fortifieds are the wines to buy if you want to keep a wine for a 21st or 40th birthday.

In Rutherglen, we have a classification system which can identify the ‘like years’ and style of our extensive fortified wines. These have been made by blending parcels of wine of varying age and complexity.

Rutherglen Range

The Rutherglen range is the foundation of the style, being the youngest and freshest material often aged between two to four years. It displays fresh, bright raisin characteristics, clean spirit and great length of flavour. We have an average age of 2-4 years.

Classic Rutherglen Range

The Classic Rutherglen style displays a greater level of complexity and richness with the perfect balance of young, fresh material and older, more developed parcels of wine. Distinct ‘rancio’ characters are imparted from the seasoned wood used in the winery. We have an average age of 10-15 years.

Grand Rutherglen Range

The Grand Rutherglen range takes the experience of enjoying these unique and luscious wines to a higher level of development with great intensity, depth of flavour and concentration of the distinct flavours of this style of wine. The complexity comes from an average age of twenty years in barrels and parcels used from only the very best vintages make it into this blend.

Rare Rutherglen Range

The Rare Rutherglen fortifieds are rare by name and rare by nature. The pinnacle of the style, it takes many years to develop these incredibly rich and complex wines and thus are some of the most prized wines on offer in Rutherglen. We blend only the most exquisite parcels of wine to produce breathtaking examples of how luscious and intense these wines can be over many years and often through many generations of careful cellaring and attention. At Stanton and Killeen, we have Muscat parcels from the 1960s when Fourth Generation Jack Stanton was the winemaker. These wines are a direct link to our history and we are proud to offer these luscious wines to our customers.

In summary, Stanton and Killeen have the following fortified wines on offer (see PDF below). You can discover more about these wines via the tasting notes available on this website or you can be guided through a comprehensive tasting at our Cellar Door.

We also sell our fortifieds in bulk so if you are interested in developing and maintaining your own blend, we can help you with everything from the purchase a pre-seasoned barrel to offering a free service of testing your sample and advice on how to keep it at its best. Please see our ‘Bulk Fortified’ page for more information or call the winery on 0260 329 457.

When tasting our fortified wines in cellar door, I always encourage our customers to be guided by what they personally like, not what they think they should like. Everyone’s palate is different and some people may enjoy the younger, fresher styles of Rutherglen and Classic whereas others may prefer the richer, more complex styles of Grand and Rare. The beauty of tasting wine from Stanton and Killeen is that we can offer an extensive range of flavours and styles, ensuring that there is something for everyone

NATASHA KILLEEN - 7th Generation