The word fleshy is used to describe wines with a certain plumpness and rich core of fruit. Fleshiness is associated with certain varieties like merlot—especially when it’s ripe. In blends that combine merlot and cabernet… Continue reading


Literally flower, a layer of yeast cells that forms naturally on top of manzanilla and fino Sherries as they age in the cask. Flor acts to prevent OXIDATION and also contributes a unique flavor to… Continue reading


Used to describe AROMAS and flavors, usually present in white wines, that are reminiscent of flowers.


A wine, such as Sherry or Port, that has had its ALCOHOL content increased by the addition of distilled grape spirits (clear brandy). Most fortified wines contain 16 to 20 percent ALCOHOL BY VOLUME.


Large wooden vats used to age wines.


An odd descriptive term (having nothing to do with foxes, or sex appeal, for that matter) for the wild, candylike aroma and flavor associated with wines that come from native American grapes of the Vitis… Continue reading

Free Run

The juice that runs—freely—simply as the result of the weight of the grapes, before any mechanical pressure is applied in a PRESS.


Slightly fizzy, but less so than SPARKLING WINE.

Front Palate

It might seem like the term front plate refers to the front of the mouth, but front palate, mid palate, and back palate are temporal terms—that is, they indicate time. So the “front palate” is… Continue reading


The part of a wine’s AROMA and flavor that comes from grapes. The fruit in a wine is distinguished from the wine’s ALCOHOL or ACID.


A catchall term for the pronounced flavor or AROMA that comes from the wine grapes themselves. Wines are generally most fruity when they are young. In addition, certain VARIETAL wines (gewürztraminer, gamay, zinfandel) seem more… Continue reading


Having pronounced weight on the palate. Full-bodied wines are to LIGHT-BODIED wines as half-and-half is to skim milk. All other things being equal, the higher a wine’s ALCOHOL content, the more full-bodied it will seem.