Wine Glossary D to F

May 25, 2010

Wine Glossary D to F

This glossary, by renowned wine writer Karen MacNeil, is designed to give you basic wine-related information without overwhelming you. Karen MacNeil is the author of The Wine Bible.

D.O.C. (DENOMINAZIONE D'ORIGINE CONTROLLATA) The Italian system of laws regulating about 250 different wine zones. Italy's D.O.C. regulations are roughly equivalent to France's Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (see entry). 
DECANT The process of slowly pouring wine from the bottle into a glass carafe or other vessel, leaving the wine's sediment behind. Only certain wines, usually older red wines, need to be decanted. 
DRY A wine that tastes as though it has no remaining natural grape sugar. By law, a minuscule amount (less than 0.2%) of natural sugar can remain.

EARTHY A descriptive term for a wine that smells or tastes like the earth or like something growing in soil. Earthy wines, for example, can be reminiscent of the forest floor, or of mushrooms, or of dried leaves. 
ENOLOGY The science of winemaking. 
ESTATE BOTTLED A term used on wine labels to indicate a wine that is made 100% from grapes growing in vineyards owned by the winery or in vineyards which the winery leases under long-term contract. The vineyards do not need to be contiguous, but they must be in the same appellation.

FERMENTATION The process by which grape juice is chemically converted into wine through the action of yeast. During fermentation, yeast enzymes convert the natural sugar in the grapes into alcohol, giving off carbon dioxide as a byproduct. 
FILTER A device used to remove certain large particles such as yeast or bacteria from wine. Wines that are properly filtered suffer no damage to their flavor or aroma. 
FINISH The final aftertaste of a wine. Very good wines tend to have relatively long finishes. 
FLORAL A descriptive term for a wine that has a smell reminiscent of flowers or meadows. 
FORTIFIED A wine that has had its alcohol content raised by the addition of neutral grape spirits. For example, Port, which is about 20% alcohol by volume, is a fortified wine. 
FULL BODIED A descriptive term for a wine which is relatively weighty on the palate. Full-bodied wines are also generally fairly high in alcohol.

Information courtesy of Wine Market Council.