tape-measure length

How long is a piece of string?

Today’s A to Z letter is L.


For Length.

Wines will usually have an aftertaste, but rather than call it an aftertaste winos like to use the word ‘finish’ instead. The flavours that you want to hang around are all the nice flavours of the wine, there’s no use the wine having a long aftertaste that is bitter for instance. The length of this finish is a great indicator of the level of quality (and cost!) of a wine.

The length is usually classified into the following three categories:

Short – As soon as you’ve swallowed the wine you can’t taste it anymore. This generally means that the wine you’re drinking is cheap as chips.

Medium – If the pleasant flavours of the wine last for a good few seconds then you know you’ve got a pretty decent bottle on your hands.

Long – Often the flavours of a wine will not only hang around for a good 10 seconds, but they’ll also develop. So you might start out tasting red fruit, but then the butterscotch kicks in, and then it’s earth and smoky and then like mushroom… This is a really good indicator that you’re drinking a very good quality vino.

Next time you’re at a dinner party and you get offered a glass of wine why not try out this trick and see whether your mates are pawing off cheap booze on you, or whether they’ve dusted off the good stuff…

13 thoughts on “How long is a piece of string?

  1. We tend to buy wines in the under £10 bracket and I have to say although some of them taste good they do not have a good ‘length’. I recall drinking a bottle of wine in a restaurant some 20 years ago which cost nearly £40 and my recollection is that there were 3 different tastes/sensations in my mouth, the last being a lasting finish or length. My most recent experience of this is the 50 year old bottle of Barolo we enjoyed last weekend which did much the same with amazing results. In fact I’m going to Manchester tomorrow where there are a few decent independent wine shops and I hope to find a 2008 Barolo which I hear is a good vintage especially for keeping (or cellaring) for a decade or so (courtesy of Jancis Robinson’s Pink Pages).

  2. Amazing interpretation! As always, I love your posts Julia and I am looking forward to paying attention to this while enjoying my next glass of wine.

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