Wine Glossary - Words that start with F
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A wine tasting term for a wine that has lost all or much of its flavor and aromas over time.

In the US this term often infers that the wine is lacking in acidity. In other parts of the world the term fat is used to indicate a full, well balanced wine, and is a compliment.

When a wine is subjected to shaking and jostling, either through the winemaking process, or shipping, it becomes fatigued. The further the wine has travelled, or the more severe the trip, the longer it will take to recover. Also called Bottle Shock or Bottle Fatigue. Usually a temporary condition which a month or more of rest will cure.

Fendant (fahn-dahn)
A popular white wine and grape in Switzerland. As is the case for so many wines that are light and fresh, it is often best enjoyed locally. Elsewhere in Switzerland the grape is known as Dorin, and in France is is called Chasselas.

The process that turns grapes into wine. Specifically the metabolization of the sugars by the yeast, into alcohol, carbon dioxide and heat.

Feuillette (fuh-yet)
A small oak barrel. At 36 gallons (136L) it is slightly bigger than half the size of a regular barrel, which averages about 60 gallons (225L).

Fiasco (fee-ask'-co)
The straw covered bottle of Chianti fame. Like most regional bottles, this one has become rarer as bottles have become increasingly standardized.

Figeac, Chateau (fee-jahk)
One of the better known estates in St. Emilion (a region in Bordeaux, France).

A wine making technique used to ensure clarity and sterility in wine. Careful use of precise filtering pads and agents allow the winemaker to target specific foreign substances to remove, based on their size.

Some winemakers feel that filtering reduces the quality of wine. Emile Peynaud, the preeminent University of Bordeaux enologist (enology being the science of wine) had this to say about the filtering debate:

"Resistance to the practice of filtering arose from the reproach made that it tended to thin down and emaciate the wines. Nevertheless, if every precaution is taken... it may be stated that the mechanical action of filtering has never had a negative influence on quality. To suggest the contrary would mean conceding that the foreign substances... which filtration is precisely designed to remove, have a favorable taste function." From "Knowing and Making Wine."

One of the wine tasting terms I most recommend avoiding because it is vague and anthropomorphic. When not applied to wine the term suggests "subtlety in performance, skill" (Random House Dictionary). Wine is inanimate, it has no skills, and does not perform.

Subtlety is further defined as "elusively thin or tenuous" (Random House Dictionary) and these terms are not a compliment for wine.

I suspect the term is most used to express admiration for the balance of a very fine wine. When the amount of fruit, acidity and tannins are harmonious enough to keep any one from standing out.

The method for clarifying wine. Depending on the cause of the cloudiness, different agents can be used. Most, like gelatin, and egg whites, are proteins, while another is Bentonite a form of clay. The general concept is to add a substance to the wine that the cloudy particles will stick to, and fall to the bottom. The winemaker then draws the clear wine off the top.

The final flavors you taste in the wine. often confused with "aftertaste." I distinguish the finish as being the taste you notice just as you swallow or spit a wine, as opposed to the aftertaste which are those flavors you notice after you swallow the wine, and which linger in your mouth for some time. Tannin is one of the common components that are noticeable in the finish of a wine.

Fino (fee-no)
A dry type of Sherry (a fortified wine from Spain). It is one of the styles of Sherry which is created by the presence of flor (A type of yeast found on some wine).

Flor (flore)
A special type of yeast found on wine. In the Sherry district of Spain, the flor yeast help to make the finest Sherries. On other wines it is a pest and must be controlled. It is also the Spanish word for flower.

Fortified Wine
A class of wines that have been made sweet by interrupting the fermentation process with the addition of a neutral distilled spirit. The spirit kills the yeast before they have finished converting all of the sugar. Port and Sherry are both fortified wines.

A wine making term for the smell of native American grape varieties. The best example is the Concord grape, that most Welch's grape juice is made from. The term originated with the early settlers who called the native grapes, Fox grapes. The term has evolved over the years and now some use it to mean the animal smell (I would use musk or musky) also found in the Concord grape.

Franken (frahn'-ken)
A large German wine region that specializes in dry white wines made from the grape Silvaner. While many German wine regions produce flowery and somewhat sweet wines, the wines of Franken tend to be clean and crisp. This has earned them a following, especially among those who are looking for dry German wines to drink with food. The region is sometimes known as Franconia, in English language texts.

Free Run
In wine making, it is the juice that appears after crushing, but before pressing. It is the highest quality juice for wine making.

Most wine is intended to be enjoyed young. When this young wine has ample acidity in the balance, it is often referred to as fresh.

Frizzante (free-zahn'-teh)
The Italian term for a wine that is slightly sparkling. Some wines may exhibit this sprits or sparkle by accident, but more often it is intentional. The French use the term "petillant" although I prefer the Italian term.

Wine basically has three components. Fruit, acidity and tannin. All three must be in balance to make a decent wine. The fruit encompasses all the tastes and smells that that are not sour (acid) or bitter (tannin). Every grape variety and style of wine exhibits different fruit. In some wines such as Zinfandel the fruit can be very noticeable (Zin has so much fruit it is often described as jammy). Other wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon have less obvious fruit.

Some young wines have an aroma that can only be described as fruity. Beaujolais is one of the best known examples.