Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Can you help me with some specific wordings to describe wines that are medium-plus finish? Thank you!
—Susan W., San Francisco
When people talk about a wine’s “finish,” they’re referring to the impression that a wine leaves after it’s been tasted. A long finish is often taken as a sign of quality. Finish can refer to the aftertaste, to how long the flavors last until they fade, and also to the textural impact, like if a wine has drying tannins or a crisp finish. The term “length” is used somewhat interchangeably, but it specifically refers to how long a wine’s flavors linger. I’ve heard some people count a length in seconds or minutes, but I don’t know if that’s very useful to folks unless they have a stopwatch in their hands.
When you say “medium-plus finish,” I imagine you’re asking specifically about length. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with simply saying “medium finish.” Some other ways to describe a finish: moderate length, fine length, good length, modest length, lengthy finish or ample length. I also find it helpful to talk about how the flavors persist, last, linger, crescendo or gain momentum.
Those are just some of the terms I use. There are many ways to describe a wine, so the best thing you can do is find a vocabulary that works for you and feels natural when you use it.