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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Why, technically speaking, does a long finish equate with quality?

—Craig J., Austin, Texas

Dear Craig,

Well, I don’t know about “technically,” but I think that a wine’s finish is important because it’s the final impression of the wine. A “bad” finish can either be unpleasant in itself or disappointing because the flavors suddenly drop off. But if the finish has length, persistence, or distinction—if it’s lingering, continuous, soft, smooth or elegant ... well, that sounds like a wine for which I’d go back for seconds.

A finish isn’t good just because it’s long. I’ve had plenty of wines where I wished the finish would just end—they were harsh, astringent, hot, acidic, drying or otherwise unpleasant. A quality wine will have not just a long finish, but a long and good finish.

—Dr. Vinny

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