Fermentation: Originally, "to boil without heat." The process, carried on by yeast growth in grape juice or other sugar solutions, by which sugar is transformed into ethyl alcohol and CO2. The CO2 bubbles out of solution, giving the appearance of boiling without heat.
Fermented "on the skins": A statement indicating that the wine was fermented with the juice and skins together -- the norm for red winemaking. Separation and discarding of solids is done only after the fermentation is completed. With very tannic grapes, the winemaker may draw the new wine away from the solids before the fermentation is fully complete.
Fined and Filtered: Fining causes the undesirable materials in a wine to settle to the bottom of the tank, along with the fining agent. Filtration clarifies the wine by removing these solids along with suspended particulates resulting from the fermentation process. Many fine wines are made today without filtering or fining because many wine makers believe it detracts from the wine. This is an unproven point, however. So when you find residue in the bottom of your bottle it's not a spoilage problem, it just has not been filtered or fined.
Fining: The act of clarifying or removing undesirable components from wine. This is usually done by adding a pure material that has the property of reacting with and removing the undesired component. Common fining agents for wine are egg white, gelatin and Bentonite clay.
Finish: The last impression left in the mouth by the taste of a wine.
Fino: Term found on some Sherry labels to denote the winery's lightest and driest Sherries.
First growths: Bordeaux term used in the 1855 classification to award estates who expressed the highest standard of Bordeaux wine making.
Flabby: A tasting term for a wine that is too low in acidity, too high in pH and difficult to drink. Many California Chardonnay table wines in the 1990s suffered from this defect, as winemakers tried to make bigger and more impressive wines. They didn't sell very well.
Flat: Tasting term. Similar to flabby, a flat wine is lacking in acidity and crispness.
Flinty: A tasting term used to describe white wine having a hard, dry, clean taste. An example might be Chablis that has a bouquet reminiscent of flint struck by steel. In Chablis, the term is positive and a good descriptor for some of the finest wines.
Flor: "Flower." A type of yeast that is able to float on the surface of a wine while growing and fermenting. It is no accident that it floats: Flor yeast uses oxygen to produce a distinctive flavour in the classic Sherry wines of Jerez, Spain. If it could not float, it would not have access to both the oxygen it needs and the wine components it wants to oxidize.
Flowery: A tasting term for wine with an exceptionally aromatic character reminiscent of fresh garden flowers.
Free run juice: The juice that is released from the grapes during the crushing process of fermentation. As the grapes are crushed, they split and juice seeps from the pulp.
Fruity: Tasting term for wine that retains the fresh flavour of the grapes used in its fermentation. Sometimes older wines or wines that have undergone too much processing, can lose their fruitiness. In fine red wines, we often look for a balance between the natural fruitiness and the barrel-aged character added by oak.
Fume Blanc: A name that has come to be synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc table wine.