Primer F

Learn wine vocabulary thanks to this primer specially designed by the Bordeaux Wine School.



A fat wine has substance and sweetness (though it might be perfectly dry). Its viscosity is down to its alcohol content, but especially glycerol, which is produced by yeasts during fermentation


Describes wines expressing elegance and lightness, in contrast to tannic strength or structure.


There are two types of fermentation for a wine. Alcoholic fermentation, brought about by yeasts, during which sugar is transformed into alcohol. Malolactic fermentation follows

Fête de la Fleur

Each year in the Bordeaux area, wine guilds celebrate the flowering of the vineyard.


A mechanical process which involves eliminating particles in suspension from the wine. Filtration is a delicate operation that requires dexterity and sensitivity. Excessive filtering can actually strip the wine. Many producers in Bordeaux have turned away from filtration and only carry out fining to ensure the wine retains its complexity.


Describes excellent wine of high quality; balanced, complex and persistent.


The quality of a delicate and elegant wine whose balance creates a velvety harmony of flavors and aromas.


A procedure that involves adding a protein substance to a wine, which floculates with particles in suspension that compromise the clarity of a wine and bring them to the bottom of the tank or barrel. Egg whites are still used to fine wines in barrel at the most important Bordeaux estates.


Describes a wine slightly lacking in acidity.

Flash pasteurization

A pasteurization process that eliminates acetic and lactic bacteria, as well as other yeasts which can cause faults such as dominant leather, plastic or chemical aromas in the wine. If it is not modified, the process involves bringing the wine to approximately 72° in a very short time (20 to 30 seconds), then cooling it just as quickly.


Describes a wine without bouquet or acidity.


Yellow pigments in the skin of white grapes which give color to a wine during fermentation, after maceration. For red wines, they are known as anthocyanins. These red or mauve pigments from grape skins contain a colorant.


A tactile sensation (sweet, salty, acid or bitter) that is produced in the mouth by food or drink.


Describes a wine that fills the mouth and is plump (see plump).

Free-run wine

In the vinification of red wine, this is produced as a result of gravity during devatting.

Fruit fly

A small fly with a brown body measuring around 3 mm in length known as Drosophila melanogaster, which brings about an acid rot inside the vine. The affected bunches give the must in the tank an unpleasant bitterness or may cause acetic spoilage.


Describes a wine that is both refreshing and fruity (synonym


Describes a red wine with a powerful and pronounced tannin structure on the palate. In Bordeaux, wines are produced by blending varieties that are high in tannins; so they are full-bodied.