Q. What is “finish”?
A. Finish is simply a wine’s aftertaste—the impression it leaves after you’ve swallowed it. A finish should be just as delicious as what you tasted when the wine was still in your mouth. By contrast, poor-finishing wines often display an unpleasant bitter or sour aftertaste.
The other quality to look for in a finish is length—how long the flavors stick around after swallowing. This attribute is so important that it’s safe to say that no truly great wine would be considered great without a long finish. In exceptional cases, this may last as long as several minutes, making not only a happy ending, but also perhaps the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
—Charles Smothermon, a food and wine writer in Laurin, Mont.