Decant: The process of transferring wine from a bottle to another holding vessel. The purpose is generally to aerate a young wine or to separate an older wine from any sediment.
Deep or Depth: Describing wines with layers of taste. Often refers to a more mature wine.
Dégustation: French term for any kind of tasting cheese, wine, etc.
Demi-sec: Although the literal translation is "medium-dry", a sparkling wine with this description is actually fairly sweet, with 33 to 50 grams of sugar content per liter. Demi-sec wines were particularly popular during the 18th century.
"A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world."
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895),
"To take wine into our mouths is to savor a droplet of the river of human history."
Clifton Paul Fadiman (1902-1999),
Denominación de Origen: Spanish for "appellation of origin"; like the French AOC or Italian DOC.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata: Italian for a controlled wine region; similar to the French AOC or Spanish DO.
Destemming: The process of removing grape stems prior to fermentation, to avoid adding tannins from the stems to the wine. (fr. égrappage)
Dilute: A description of a wine whose aromas and flavors are thin and watery.
Disgorge: The process by which final sediments are removed from traditionally made sparkling wines prior to the adding of the dosage. There are two methods of disgorging: the traditional way à la volée, and the modern way à la glace. (see Disgorging Champagne and an explanation in French)
Domaine: A French term for a wine estate.
Dosage: A sweetened spirit added at the very end to Champagne and other traditionally made sparkling wines. It determines whether a wine is brut, extra dry, dry or semisweet. (fr. liqueur de tirage)
Double Magnum: Wine bottle with 3-liter capacity.
Douro: A river in Portugal as well as the wine region famous for producing Port wines.
Dry: A wine containing no more than 0.2 percent unfermented sugar. Also a subjective term. Opposite of sweet. It can describe wines with a rough feel on the tongue.
Dull: Lacking liveliness and proper acidity; uninteresting. It may be applied to appearance, taste, or aromas.
Earthy: A term used to describe aromas and flavors that have a certain soil-like quality. A bit of earthiness can be appealing; too much makes the wine coarse.
Elegance: Characteristic of wines that express themselves in a fine or delicate manner, not intense.
Enology or œnology: The science of wine production; an enologist (œnologist) is a professional winemaker; an enophile (œnophile) is someone who enjoys wine.
Extra Brut: The very driest sparkling wine, with sugar content of 0-6 grams per liter.
Feuillette: A great barrel (grand tonneau). In wine making, a half-sized cask with capacity ranging from 114 liters in Côte d'Or and Saône-et-Loire, to 132-136 liters in Yonne.
Fermentation: The process by which sugar is transformed into alcohol; how grape juice interacts with yeast to become wine.
Fillette: Charming name used in the Val-de-Loire and Paris, describing a bottle with a 35-centiliter capacity.
Filtration: The process by which wine is clarified before bottling.
Fining: Part of the clarification process whereby elements are added to the wine, i.e. egg whites, in order to capture solids prior to filtration.
Finish: The total impression of a wine after you have swallowed it. A long finish is preferred.
Fleshy: Fatness of fruit; big, ripe.
Flinty: Dry, mineral character that comes from certain soils, mostly limestone, in which the grapes were grown; typical of French Chablis and Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs (Sancerre).
Flute: A narrow Champagne glass; also a narrow bottle used for Alsace wine (fr. flûte).
Fortified Wine: A wine in which brandy is introduced during fermentation; sugars and sweetness are high due to the suspended fermentation.
Foudre: A large oak or chestnut cask used for aging wine (mostly in Provence and Alsace), with a capacity between 150 and 350 hectoliters (3,960 to 9,240 gallons).
Frais, fraîche: Fresh, cool, chilly.
Frappé: Iced, chilled. (see Frais, fraîche)
French oak: Oak wood from the forests of France, considered the preferred type of oak for aging most white wines.
Fruity: Aroma and/or flavor of grapes; most common to young, light wines but refers also to such fruit flavors in wine as apple, black currant, cherry, citrus, pear, peach, raspberry, or strawberry; descriptive of wines in which the fruit is dominant.
Full: A description of wines that give the impression of being large or heavy in your mouth.
Fumé Blanc: A name created by Robert Mondavi to describe dry Sauvignon Blanc.
"It's a naïve domestic Burgundy without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption."
James Thurber (1894-1961),
"Restaurants are by no means the only place to have fun with wine and food, but they are the place where people seem get the most uptight about having the 'right' wine and food match."
Fût: An oak cask or barrel. (see Barrique)
Gamay: A red grape exceedingly popular in the Beaujolais region of France.
Generous: A wine whose characteristics are expressive and easy to perceive.
Gewürztraminer: A sweet and spicy white grape popular in eastern France, Germany, Austria, northern Italy and California.
Graceful: Describes a wine that is harmonious and pleasing in a subtle way.
Graft: A vineyard technique in which the bud-producing part of a grapevine is attached to an existing root.
Gran Reserva: A Spanish term used for wines that are aged in wood and bottles for at least five years prior to release.
Grand Cru: French for "great growth", denotes the very best vineyards.
Grapy: Characterized by simple flavors and aromas associated with fresh table grapes; distinct from the more complex fruit flavors (currant, black cherry, fig or apricot) found in fine wines.
Green: A term used to describe underripe, vegetal flavors in a wine.
Grenache: A hearty, productive red grape popular in southern France as well as in Spain, where it is called Garnacha.
Gris: A very pale rosé color.
Grüner Veltliner: A white grape popular in Austria that makes lean, fruity, racy wines.
Half-bottle (demiboite): Champagne or wine bottle with 0.375-liter capacity.
Hard: Firm; a quality that usually results from high acidity or tannins. Often a descriptor for young red wines.
Harmonious: Well balanced, with no component obtrusive or lacking.
Harsh: Used to describe astringent wines that are tannic or high in alcohol.
Haut: A French word meaning "high." It applies to quality as well as altitude.
Hectare: A metric measure of area equal to 10,000 square meters or 2.47 acres.
Hectoliter: A metric measure equal to 100 liters or 26.4 gallons.
Herbaceous: An aroma or flavor similar to green; often an indication of underripe grapes or fruit grown in a cool climate.
Herbal: Having aromas and flavors that suggest herbs.
Hollow: A term used to describe a wine that doesn't have depth or body.
Hybrid: The genetic crossing of two or more grape types; common hybrids include Müller-Thurgau and Bacchus.
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