JWL Issue #139: What is finish on wine?

May 11, 2021

Josh is taking a well deserved holiday this week. So it’s Isabelle, head of wine, here. And what a week it’s going to be. Wine List HQ will be working to the sound of early 2000s Robbie Williams and the Les Mis soundtrack. Plus, our monthly live tastealong is this Wednesday at 8pm.

Together, we’ll be tasting the May core wines - Sa Sivina and The Earth Beneath Our Feet Syrah.

I love seeing all your comments at the YouTube live, so get your questions ready. I’ve also finally managed to get an appointment at the hairdresser. So any comments about how nice my hair looks are more than welcome. You can catch it here.

We have some exciting by the glass tastings coming up. Tickets are available here and are selling out fast.

Zoom tastings are one of my favourite parts of the job. It’s so great to see live reactions to the wine and answer your questions. You’re all such a funny bunch, my cheeks always ache from laughing by the end.

Not joined one before? The Introduction to Rhône has some fantastic reds from everyone’s favourite region. Hope to see you there.

Taste

Wines to gift and share

This past week, we tried some wines from M&S’s Found range. A sparkling wine from the south of France and a Greek red.

M&S Found, Blanquette de Limoux (M&S, £10) is fun and fresh. It’s no serious sparkling wine, it’s the type of wine you’d share with friends in the garden. Really bright fruits, melon and peach with juicy citrus.

M&S Found, Xinomavro Mandilaria (M&S, £9.50) is fantastic value. Sumptuous fruits, great tannin and fresh acidity balance each other out perfectly. This is deep-coloured and deep-flavoured wine.

Bird in Hand winery in Australia is prize winning. I’ve previously used their Nest Egg Chardonnay on a wine flight in a restaurant I used to work in. This rosé (Sainsbury’s, £13) comes in an incredibly chic bottle - this photo doesn’t do it any justice. It would make a great gift. It’s light in colour but a little juicier than most Provence rosé.

Learn

What is the finish on wine?

It’s the characteristic I always go to first to decipher the quality of the wine.

You can measure it by taking a sip of wine, swallowing and then counting on your hands how many seconds it takes before the flavour disappears from your palate.

The longer the finish, the higher the quality of the wine. You’re looking for a long, smooth finish where the flavours just gel together. Some great wines develop in this finish, they will continue to evolve and change as they carry on. Under 3 seconds is a bit rubbish, and above 7 is great.

Finish comes from the quality of the grapes. If they are low yielding and concentrated they can add to a long finish. A winemaker must also continue this care in the vineyard. Ageing a wine can also lengthen its finish.

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