Swiss Wine Regions

Glossary of F

Fan leaf

A viral vine disease.

Farm winery

A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site.

Fault

An unpleasant characteristic of wine resulting from a flaw with the winemaking process or storage conditions.

Federweisser

In Switzerland, Federweisser refers to a white wine made from red grapes. This is different from the German “Federweiße”, which is from white grapes in any stage of fermentation, from just started to almost finished, but still unfiltered. This unfinished “wine” is called Sauser in Switzerland.

Fermentation

The transformation of sugar into alcohol through the action of yeast.

Fiasco

The straw-covered flask historically associated with Chianti.

Fighting varietal

A term that originated in California during the mid 1980s to refer to any inexpensive cork-finished varietal wine in a 1.5 liter bottle.

Filtration

The removal of solid particles from the juice or wine.

Fining

A clarification process where flocculants, such as bentonite or egg white, are added to the wine to remove suspended solids.

Finish

A tasting term for the lingering aftertaste after a wine has been swallowed.

Firm

Term referring to a taste sensation caused by tannins - usually noticeable at the back of the mouth.

Flabby

Tasting term used to indicate a wine lacking in structure, often marked by low acidity.

Flagon

A glass bottle that holds two litres of (usually inexpensive) table wine.

Flétri

Flétri, French: Withered. In the context of wine, it refers to wine made from semi-dried grapes, which concentrates sugar, making dessert wine.

Flinty

Term usually applied to austere, dry and crisp whites.

Flor

Flor (Spanish for flower) is a yeast used to make Sherry. This yeast functions with full contact with oxygen and can ferment to higher than 15 per cent alcohol.

Flowery

An attractive scent reminiscent of flowers. Floral and fragrant are similar descriptors often applied to young, fresh white wines.

Fortified wine

Wine to which alcohol has been added, generally to increase the concentration to a high enough level to prevent fermentation.

Foxy

A tasting term for the musty odor and flavor of wines made from Vitis labrusca grapes native to North America.

Free run

Juice obtained from grapes that have not been pressed, resulting in less tannin from skin, stalk and seed.

Frizzante
Fruit

The main component of the wine, usually grape but other fruits are also used to make wine, such as pear, plum, etc. Often mentioned when the fruit isn’t grown in the same site as the winery (as in “the wine is produced here on-site”) but the fruit is purchased from a vineyard upstate.

Fruit set

After flowering the fertilized flowers are set to form berries.

Fruit wine

A fermented alcoholic beverage made from non-grape fruit juice which may or may not include the addition of sugar or honey. Fruit wines are always called something wines (e.g., plum wine), since the word wine alone is often legally defined as a beverage made only from grapes.

Glossary by Letter

  • A (21)
  • B (36)
  • C (38)
  • D (17)
  • E (8)
  • F (24)
  • G (5)
  • H (7)
  • I (4)
  • J (2)
  • K (1)
  • L (10)
  • M (25)
  • N (5)
  • O (10)
  • P (23)
  • Q (1)
  • R (13)
  • S (31)
  • T (21)
  • U (2)
  • V (22)
  • W (11)
  • Y (2)
  • Z (1)

The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Sémillon

Hard to believe that Sémillon’s main claim to fame is its propensity to rot, but because of its soft skin Sémillon is prone to Botrytis cinerea (a.k.a. “noble rot”). The “rot” concentrates the acid and sugar in the grape, and the resulting wine can be complex, rich, sweet, and aromatic. In short: pretty damn nice. The best known of this sweet style wine is Sauternes, coming from the Sauternais region of the Graves, near Bordeaux in France.

Sémillon can also make an elegant dry white wine, but since it can be short on acidity, it is often vinified with Sauvignon blanc.

Gouais Blanc

A promiscuous grape. Not good for much, but with a long, long line of descendents, including the noble Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Possibly from Croatia, it’s called Heunisch Weiss in Central Europe.

The name Gouais is comes from ‘gou’, which is a scornful word from old French referring to its standing as the grape of the peasants. Very prevalent in the Ile-de-France and in the Champagne during the Middle Ages and perhaps brought into Valais by the descendants of the Ligurians.

Acidic and with little residual sugar, it’s primarily used to blend with low acidic wine to give it a bit of liveliness. Ampelographic studies in the old vineyards of Oberwallis have found a red Gwäss with the same characteristics as the white Gwäss. Almost abandoned, it survives in Haut-Valais hiding under the alias of Gwäss, thanks to Mr. Josef-Marie Chanton, http://www.chanton.ch/home.html

Garanoir

A new variety (Gamay x Reichensteiner), developed in 1970 at Pully (Vaud), Garanoir ripens early. Can give interesting blends with Gamay, Gamaret or sometimes Pinot Noir.

Age appears to be best in four things--old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

L. Bacon

Swiss Alps, cows, wine bottle and large clock face in Bern, Switzerland

Fine Swiss Wine

Discover Switzerland’s odd grapes, small producers, and eclectic tastes