Fortified wines are those in which the alcohol content has been increased by the addition of brandy or neutral spirits. They usually range from 17-21 percent alcohol, by volume. Ports, Sherries, Marsalas, and Madeiras all are fortified wines. In the U.S., many look on these as a matter of acquired taste.
Dessert wines are almost always fortified wines. Most, though not all, are quite sweet. They are best suited to drinking by themselves or after a meal. The terms fortified wines and dessert wines often are used interchangeably.