Sunday, September 20, 2015


FALL BRIGHT A liquid that becomes limpid after
cloudy matter falls as sediment to the bottom of
the vessel is said to fall bright.
FALL OVER A wine that goes past its peak and
starts to decline at a relatively young age, and at a
faster than normal rate, is said to fall over.
FARMYARDY A term used by many people to
describe a wine, quite often Chardonnay or Pinot,
that has matured beyond its initial freshness of
fruit, past the desired stage of roundness and the
pleasing phase when it acquires certain vegetal
undertones. The wine is still healthy and drinkable,
and for some it is at the very peak of perfection.
FAT A wine full in body and extract. It is good for
any wine to have some fat, but fat in an unqualified
sense can be derogatory and no wine should be
too fat, as it will be flabby or too blowzy.
FATTY ACIDS A term sometimes used for
volatile acids.
FEMININE A subjective term used to describe
a wine with a preponderance of delicately
attractive qualities, rather than weight or strength.
Descibes a wine of striking beauty, grace, and
finesse, with a silky texture and exquisite style.
FERMENTATION The biochemical process by
which enzymes secreted by yeast cells convert
sugar molecules into almost equal parts of alcohol
and carbonic gas.
FERTILIZER A chemical product used to enrich the
soil with one or more of the three basic requirements
for all plant life: potassium (for fruit development
and general plant metabolism), phosphorus (for root
development), and nitrogen (for leaf development).
Technically the term also refers to manure, compost,
and other natural means of soil enrichment.
FEUILLETTE (Fr.) A small Burgundian barrel with a
capacity of 114 liters (30 gallons); in Chablis this is
132 liters (35 gallons).
FIELD BLEND, FIELD MIX The best description I
have seen for this is “a wine recipe planted in the
ground.” It is not a homogenous vineyard planted
to a single grape variety (of which there may be
several different clones), but a vineyard planted with
a collection of grape varieties that reflect traditional
Old World practices of several generations ago. The
advantage is that if a disease or disorder affected
one variety, the others would probably pull through
unscathed. The disadvantage, however, is that the
different varieties do not ripen at the same time; this
was not a problem in the old days, however, since
it was common practice to make several tries or
sweeps through the vineyards, picking only the
ripe grapes and cutting out any rotten ones.
FILTER, FILTRATION The removal of suspended
matter. There are four basic methods of filtration:
depth filtration (also known as earth filtration); pad
filtration (also known as sheet filtration), membrane
filtration (also known as microporous filtration),
and crossflow filtration. There is also centrifugal
filtration, which is not filtration in the pure sense but
achieves the same objective of removing unwanted
particles suspended in wine or grape juice.
FINESSE That elusive, indescribable quality that
separates a fine wine from those of lesser quality.
FINE WINES Quality wines, representing only a
small percentage of all wines produced.
FINING The clarification of fresh grape juice or wine
is often sped up by the use of various fining agents
that operate by an electrolytic reaction to fine out
oppositely charged matter.
FINISH The quality, and a person’s enjoyment, of
a wine’s aftertaste
FIRM Refers to a certain amount of grip. A firm
wine is a wine of good constitution, held up with
a certain amount of tannin and acidity.
FIRST PRESSING The first pressing yields the
sweetest, cleanest, clearest juice.
FIXED ACIDITY This is the total acidity less the
volatile acidity.
FIXED SULFUR The principal reason why SO2
(sulfur dioxide) is added to grape juice and wine
is to prevent oxidation, but only free sulfur can do
this. Upon contact with wine, some SO2
immediately combines with oxygen and other
elements, such as sugars and acids, and is known
as fixed or bound sulfur. What remains is free
sulfur, capable of combining with molecules of
oxygen at some future date.
FLABBY The opposite of crisp, referring to a wine
lacking in acidity and consequently dull, weak,
and short.
FLASH PASTEURIZATION A sterilization technique
that should not be confused with full pasteurization.
It involves subjecting the wine to a temperature of
about 176°F (80°C) for between 30 and 60 seconds.
FLAT 1. A sparkling wine that has lost all of its
mousse. 2. A term that is interchangeable with
flabby, especially when referring to a lack of
acidity on the finish.
FLESHY This term refers to a wine with plenty of
fruit and extract and implies an underlying firmness.
FLOR (Sp.) A scumlike yeast film that naturally
occurs and floats on the surface of some sherries
as they mature in part-filled wooden casks. It is the
flor that gives Fino Sherry its inimitable character.
FLURBEREINIGUNG (Ger.) A modern viticultural
method of growing vines in rows that run vertically
up and down slopes, rather than across in terraces.
GARRIGUE (Fr.) A type of moorland found in
GASOLINE, GASOLINE-LIKE With some bottle-age,
the finest Rieslings have a vivid bouquet that some
call gasoline-like. This character has an affinity with
various zesty and citrussy odors, but many lemony,
citrussy, zesty smells are totally different from one
another and the Riesling’s gasoline character is both
singular and unmistakable. As great Riesling matures,
so it also develops a honeyed character, bringing a
classic, honeyed-gasoline richness to the wine.
GELATINE A positively charged fining agent used for
removing negatively charged suspended matter in
wines, especially an excess of tannin.
GENERIC Describes a wine, usually blended, of a
general appellation.
GENEROUS A generous wine gives its fruit freely
on the palate, while an ungenerous wine is likely
to have little or no fruit and, probably, an excess
of tannin. All wines should have some degree
of generosity.
GENUS The botanical family Ampelidaceae has 10
genera, one of which, Vitis, through the subgenus
Euvites, contains the species Vitis vinifera, to which
all the famous wine-making grape varieties belong.
GEOSMIN A chemical compound sometimes found
in wine; responsible for the characteristic earthiness
of beets and the earthy taste of some potatoes.
GLUGGY Easy to guzzle.
GOOD GRIP A healthy structure of tannin
supporting the fruit in a wine.
GOUT DE TERROIR (Fr.) Literally “taste of earth,”
a term that denotes a particular flavor imparted by
certain soils—although not necessarily the taste of
the soil itself—in a wine.
GRANDE MARQUE (Fr.) Literally a great or famous
brand. In the world of wine, the term Grande
Marque is specific to Champagne and applies to
members of the Syndicat de Grandes Marques,
which include, of course, all the famous names.

FLYING WINEMAKER The concept of the flying
winemaker was born in Australia, where due to the
size of the country and the staggered picking dates,
highly sought-after consultants Brian Croser (now
Petaluma) and Tony Jordan (now Green Point)
would hop by plane from harvest to harvest. Riding
on the success of Australian wines in the UK market,
other Australian wine wizards began to stretch
their wings, flying in and out of everywhere from
Southern Italy to Slovakia, usually at the behest of
British supermarkets. Like the spread of Chardonnay
and Cabernet, the flying winemakers were at first
welcomed by wine writers, then turned upon for
standardizing wine wherever they went. The truth
is that before the arrival of international grapes and
international winemakers, the peasant cooperatives
in these countries had no idea that they could even
produce wines to compete on the international
market. Now that they have established a certain
standard with known grape varieties and modern
technology, they are beginning to turn to their roots
to see what indigenous varieties might have the
potential to produce more expressive wines. Few
winemakers do more flying than Moët & Chandon’s
Richard Geoffroy, but the term is usually attributed
to the mercenaries of the trade, who work for a
supermarket, a supplier to a supermarket, or more
than one company. Well-known flying winemakers
include Peter Bright, Nick Butler, Steve Donnelly,
Michael Goundrey, Lynette Hudson, Jacques and
François Lurton, Geoff Merril, Kym Milne, Martin
Shaw, Brenden Smith, Adrian Wing, and John
Worontschak. The late, famous Bordeaux professor
Peynaud avoided the flying-winemaker tag, as has
Ribereau-Gayon, despite the fact that they have each
consulted for more companies in more countries
over more years than the entire flock of flying
winemakers listed above, perhaps because today’s
mercenaries have a more hands-on approach to their
job than was traditional for consultants in the past.
FOLIAR FEEDS Plant nutrients that are sprayed
directly onto, and are absorbed by, the foliage.
FORTIFIED Fortification with pure alcohol (usually
very strong grape spirit of 77 to 98 percent) can
take place either before fermentation (as in Ratafia
de Champagne and Pineau des Charentes), during
fermentation (as in port and Muscat de Beaumes
de Venise), or after fermentation (as in sherry).
FOUDRE (Fr.) A large wooden cask or vat.
FOXY The very distinctive, highly perfumed
character of certain indigenous American grape
varieties that can be sickly sweet and cloying to
unconditioned palates.
FREE SULFUR The active element of sulfur
dioxide (SO2) in wine, produced by free sulfur
combining with intruding molecules of oxygen.
FREMANTLE DOCTOR Also known as the “Freo
Doctor,” this afternoon sea breeze brings a cooling
relief to better parts of the Swan Valley in Western
Australia. Canberra Doctor.
FRENCH PARADOX In 1991, Morley Safer, host of
the CBS show 60 Minutes, screened a program
about the so-called “French Paradox.” This described
how the high-cholesterol-consuming, high-alcoholdrinking,
low-exercising French have a very low
mortality rate from heart disease compared to healthconscious
Americans, who have low-cholesterol
diets, exercise frequently, and drink relatively little
alcohol. Part of the explanation was attributed to the
Mediterranean diet, in which milk plays a negligible
role and wine—particularly red wine—a very
important one. Although it is a complete food for
the young, milk is unnatural for adults, who cannot
digest it properly. The more milk an adult drinks
(and Americans are particularly high consumers
of milk), the greater the risk of cardiovascular
disease, while three glasses of wine a day has a
proven protective effect against cardiovascular
FRESH Describes wines that are clean and still vital
with youth.
FRIABLE Term used to describe a soil structure that
is crumbly or easily broken up.
FRIZZANTE (It.) Semi-sparkling.
FRIZZANTINO (It.) Very lightly sparkling, between
still and semi-sparkling (i.e., perlant).
FRUIT Wine is made from grapes and must
therefore be 100 percent fruit, yet a fruity flavor
depends on the grapes used having the correct
combination of ripeness and acidity.
FRUITCAKE This is a subjective term for a wine that
tastes, smells, or has the complexity of the mixed
dried-fruit richness and spices found in fruitcake.
FUDER (Ger.) A large oval cask with a capacity of
1,000 liters (265 gallons), more prevalent in Mosel
areas than in those of the Rhine.
FULL This term usually refers to body, as in “fullbodied.”
However, a wine can be light in body
yet full in flavor.
FULLY FERMENTED A wine that is allowed to
complete its natural course of fermentation and
so yield a totally dry wine.
FÛT (Fr.) A wooden cask, usually made of oak,
in which wines are aged, or fermented and aged.
GRASSY Often used to describe certain
Gewürztraminer, Scheurebe, and Sauvignon
wines portraying a grassy type of fruitiness.
GREEN Young and tart, as in Vinho Verde. It can be
either a derogatory term or simply a description of
a youthful wine that might well improve.
GREEN PRUNING Pruning is a bit of a misnomer,
as this is really a method of reducing yields by
thinning out the potential crop when the grapes
are green (unripe) by cutting off a certain
percentage of the bunches, so that what remains
achieves a quicker, greater, and more even
ripening. Also called summer pruning.
GRIP This term applies to a firm wine with a
positive finish. A wine showing grip on the finish
indicates a certain bite of acidity in white wines
and of tannin in red wines.
GRIPPY Good grippy tannins imply ripe tannins
that have a nice tactile effect without seeming in
the least firm, harsh, or austere.
GROSSLAGE (Ger.) A wine area in Germany that is
part of a larger district or Bereich.
GUTSY A wine full in body, fruit, extract, and—
usually—alcohol. The term is normally applied to
wines of fairly ordinary quality.
GUZZLY This term is synonymous with gluggy.
GRAFT The joint between the rootstock and the
scion of the producer vine.
GRAND CRU (Fr.) Literally “great growth.” In
regions such as Burgundy, where the term’s use
is strictly controlled, it has real meaning (in other
words, the wine should be great relative to the
quality of the year), but in other winemaking areas
where there are no controls, it will mean little.
GRAND VIN (Fr.) Normally used in Bordeaux, this
term applies to the main wine sold under the
château’s famous name and it will have been
produced from only the finest barrels. Wines
excluded during this process go into second, third,
and sometimes fourth wines that are sold under
different labels.
GRAPEY This term may be applied to an aroma or
flavor that is reminiscent of grapes rather than
wine, and is a particular characteristic of German
wines and wines made from various Muscat or
Muscat-like grapes.


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