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Glossary

H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P

H

Halbtrocken - means "half dry" in German and in wine.

Harmonious - Well balanced, with no component obtrusive or lacking.

Hot - High alcohol, unbalanced wines that tend to burn with "heat" on the finish are called hot. Usually acceptable in Port-style wines.

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I

Isinglass - A gelatinous material from the air bladders of sturgeons and other fish used in fining.

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J

Jeroboam - An oversized bottle holding the equivalent of six bottles. In Champagne, a jeroboam holds four bottles.

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K

Kabinett - The first level of the German QmP rating system, indicating wine made from ripe berries that are not purposefully harvested late. This is the driest of all of the designations.

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L

Late Harvest - On labels, indicates that a wine was made from grapes picked later than normal and at a higher sugar level than normal. Often associated with botrytized and dessert-style wines.

Lees - Spent yeasty sediment remaining in a barrel or tank during and after fermentation.

Legs - The viscous droplets that form and ease down the sides of the glass when the wine is swirled. A common misconception is that the formation of legs is due to its viscosity, when in fact it has more to do with a wine.s alcohol and sugar content.

Length - The amount of time the sensations of taste and aroma persist after swallowing. In general, the longer the better.

Liqueur d.expédition - Following disgorging in the production of Champagne, this liquid is added to top of the wine in the bottle. It is a mixture of wine and a small amount of sugar to balance out high levels of acidity.

Loam - Soil type consisting of sand, silt, and clay.

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M

Marl - A sedimentary rock or soil consisting of clay and lime, formerly used typically as fertilizer.

Meritage - An invented term used by California wineries for Bordeaux-style red and white blended wines. Combines "merit" with "heritage" and rhymes with the latter. The term arose out of the need to name wines that didn't meet the minimum requirements for varietal labeling (i.e., 75 percent of the named grape variety). For reds, the grapes allowed are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec; for whites, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Joseph Phelps Insignia and Flora Springs Trilogy are examples of wines whose blends vary each year, with no one grape dominating.

Methuselah - An extra-large bottle holding 6 liters; the equivalent of eight standard bottles.

Mis en Bouteille au Domaine - A phrase simply meaning that the wine was bottled at the domaine or winery rather than by a négociant.

Mouthfeel - The tasting term used particularly for red wines to describe the texture of a wine within the mouth. This relates to attributes such as smoothness, or grittiness. Among the factors that influence a wine.s mouthfeel are tannin, acidity, body, and bitterness.

Must - The unfermented juice of grapes extracted by crushing or pressing; grape juice in the cask or vat before it is converted into wine.

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N

Nebuchadnezzar - A giant wine bottle holding 15 liters; the equivalent of 20 standard bottles.

Négociant - French term for merchant, refers to one who purchases grapes, must, or wine from a number of growers within an appellation, then blends the different lots and bottles the wine under their own label. This practice is especially important in Burgundy, where many growers own plots of land too small to support individual labels.

Noble Rot - See Botrytis

Nouveau - A style of light, fruity, youthful red wine bottled and sold as soon as possible. Applies mostly to Beaujolais.Non-vintage - Blended from more than one vintage. This allows the vintner to maintain a house style from year to year. Many Champagnes and sparkling wines, ports and sherries are non-vintage.

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O

Oidium - A fungal disease affecting vines, caused by a powdery mildew. The fungus is Uncinula Necator.

Oxidized - Describes wine that has been exposed too long to oxygen and taken on a brownish color, losing its freshness and perhaps beginning to smell and taste like Sherry or old apples. Oxidized wines are also called maderized or sherrified.

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P

Phenolics/ Phenols - Chemical compounds derived from skins, seeds, and stems. Phenols include tannin, color, and flavor compounds.

Phylloxera - Tiny aphids (root lice) that attack Vitis vinifera roots. The disease was widespread in both Europe and California during the late 19th century, and returned to California in the 1980s. There is no known cure at this time. Vinifera vines are instead grafted onto native American rootstocks.

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