glossary

You can browse our topics using the letters below, or search for a term.

Letter H:

Halbtrocken: German term meaning "half-dry." Contains some residual sugar, but not more than 18g/l.

Half-bottle: Holds 375 milliliters or 3/8 liter.

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.

Harvest: The process of picking the grapes, whether by hand or machine. Also the time period when the grapes are picked; usually September through October in the northern hemisphere and March through April in the southern hemisphere.

Hazy: Used to describe a wine that has small amounts of visible matter. Characteristic of wines that are unfined and unfiltered.

Heady: Used to describe high-alcohol wines.

Hearty: Used to describe the full, warm, sometimes rustic qualities found in red wines with high alcohol.

Hectare: A quantity of land equivalent to 10,000 square meters or 2.47 acres. Used frequently in Europe to measure vineyard size.

Hectoliter: A quantity of liquid equivalent to 100 liters or 26.4 gallons. In most of Europe, yield is measured in hectoliters per hectare vs. tons per acre in the U.S.

Herbaceous: Describes the aromas and flavors of herbs in a wine. A plus in many wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and, to a lesser extent, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Herbal is a synonym, though when the concentration of the aroma is high, and becomes less than pleasant, the term herbaceous is often used.

Hollow: Lacking in flavor, especially in the midpalate. Describes a wine that has some flavor on the beginning of the sip and on the finish, but is missing intensity or distinct flavors in between.

Horizontal Tasting: An evaluation of wines from a single vintage; the wines may highlight producers from a single region or the same grape variety from many regions, among other permutations.

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

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