Wine Words Demystified:Finish

You know the deal, the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical speak can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus – Wine Words Demystified!

This week’s word is finish

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

 The impression that a wine leaves in your mouth even after you have swallowed it.  A finish may be almost nonexistent, fairly short, or extremely long.  It may be smooth and lingering or rough and choppy.  A finish may be dominated by one component in the wine, such as ALCOHOL (a hot finish), ACID (a tart finish), or TANNIN (an astringent finish).  A great wine, as opposed to a good wine, always has a pronounced, very long, lingering well balanced finish…

In other words, the “finish” of a wine is its aftertaste. Now that you know what it is, there are two key questions when it comes to finish 1.) What is considered to be a short/medium/long finish? and 2.) What’s the best way to judge the length of  the finish? – More from the Wine Bible (I’ve tried this an it works!)

The way to “get a finish” is by retro nasal breathing the wine (it sounds more complicated than it is). To do this: Take a sip, hold the wine in your mouth, swirl it around, and swallow it, keeping your mouth closed.  With your mouth still closed, breathe out forcefully through your nose (Make sure you swallow before breathing out or you’ll have a dry cleaning bill)  Now notice the sensation.  If the wine has a long finish, you’ll still be able to taste and smell it even though you’ve swallowed.  If it has a short finish, you’ll sense very little, if any,  flavor or aromas…How long can they last? Up to a minute and occasionally longer

In this case the case of wine, the best finish last!