When I blend our wines, there are two very important factors I strive to achieve. First, I want to create a wine with a good, if not excellent, nose. The wine needs to have enticing aromas as that is the first stage of the sensory assessment of any wine. The wine’s aromas play an important role in how much we will like the wine.
Second, I strive for a good finish as it is the last sensory assessment you have of a wine after it is swallowed. You and I naturally stop and reflect on what we have tasted. In my judgment, the nose and the finish of a wine play the two biggest roles in how much you will like a wine.
The words “finish” and “length” are words used to define wines by all of us. However, at times they are used interchangeably when in fact they have separate meanings when tasting wine.
The last impression you have of a wine is its finish. It is the taste or flavors that stay on your palate or in your mouth after you have swallowed the wine. That taste can be many things depending on the type and style of the wine. The finish describes the very last flavor or textural sensation you have after swallowing or in some cases spitting out the wine. There are an unlimited number of terms used to describe the finish of a wine. Professional wine critics and tasters seem to come up unique terms all the time. Terms sometimes used are: spicy, minerality, savory, sweet, bitter, hot, harsh, rich and peppery. Some that I find really interesting are the use of words such as astonishing, lingering finish, with spice box, balanced and long and very elegant, shows personality and persistent and reserved. The terms go on and on. These terms are pretty much the same used to describe the flavor or texture of the wine on your mid palate.
Length is the term used to describe how long the finish of a wine lasts in your mouth after the wine has been swallowed. It is one of the parts of a wine’s finish. The length of the finish can be short, medium or long. The length of the finish can be the final indicator of the quality of the wine. Generally, the more extensive finishes/longer length will be present in higher quality wines. Twenty to 30 seconds is good for an average bottle of wine. If the wine finish length is up to 45 seconds it is showing powerful flavors which generally indicates a much better wine.
Generally younger wines, regardless of color, variety or quality, last about 20 seconds or less. Wines that are produced to be enjoyed young with short finish lengths are:
- Merlot (some)
Wines with 20- to 40-second finishes include:
- Rieslings (some)
- Sauvignon Blancs
Wines with long length finishes, wines that the length persists for 45 seconds or longer, perhaps as long as a minute, are generally exceptional wines that exhibit powerful flavors. Such wines are:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- California and Burgundy Chardonnay
All wines will have different finishes and lengths of finish. It is a very important part of wine tasting to stop and reflect on what you tasted after you swallowed the wine. As I have mentioned, the nose of a wine, the finish and length are important components of whether or not you like a wine.
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Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- March 3rd – National Mulled Wine Day
- April 17th – International Malbec Day
- May 4th – International Sauvignon Blanc Day
- May 9th – National Moscato Day
- May 21st – National Chardonnay Day
- May 25th – National Wine Day
- June 11th – National Rosé Wine Day