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Fermentation

 

Complex process in which sugars, naturally present in grape juice, are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the action of yeasts. Heat is the other main by-product.

Fining

 

Winemaking procedure in which a product is added to wine in order to remove unwanted material. Typical fining agents include bentonite clay (to remove proteins) and egg white (to remove bitter tannins). Ox blood was once commonly used as a fining agent but is now generally forbidden.

Finish

 

The final sensation left in the mouth once a wine is swallowed. A long, persistent finish is considered a sign of a fine wine.

Firm

 

A wine with positive, assertive attributes, such as fruit, tannin and acidity.

First growth

 

English translation of the French premier cru, indicating a wine at the top of some official quality classification.

Flabby

 

A wine lacking in structure, often marked by low acidity.

Flinty

 

The aroma (and sometimes taste) of fresh, pungent whites, particular from the Sauvignon Blanc variety.

Flor

 

Layer of yeast cells allowed to grow on fino Sherry during its ageing process, and which contributes to its typical aroma.

Fortified wine

 

Usually sweet wine, in which the alcoholic fermentation is stopped before all the sugar has been consumed, by the addition of brandy. The alcohol kills the yeast, leaving a sweet wine with high alcohol. Examples include Port and Vin Doux Naturel. Sherry, by contrast, is fortified after fermentation, and so it is naturally dry.

Foxy

 

The wild, earthy flavour of wines made from hybrid grapes or native North American varieties.

Fresh

 

A pleasantly youthful and vigorous character, often associated with relatively high acidity, and a complete absence of oxidation.

Fruity

 

The attractive flavour of wine made from ripe grapes, which may be reminiscent of a wide range of fruits including citrus fruits, red and black berries, and stone fruits.

Full

 

A wine giving a positive, satisfying sensation in the mouth, possibly associated with ripeness and high alcohol.

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