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When Is a Finish on a Wine Finished?

I guess when it comes to Chardonnay that sees time in new barrels, oak trumps fruit. But by how much? Researchers at Washington State University, The Bellingham Herald details, have found that while apple-y goodness hangs around for 43 seconds, toasty oak kicks it on your palate for an additional 17 seconds.

I always wonder about this length of finish thing when a reviewer says a wine's goes on for x seconds or minutes. Is there a flavor valve that gets shut off, signifying when it ends? Does a stopwatch get clicked, a checkered flag waved when flavor has left the building and your palate? Going, going, GONE!

What does a "long finish" on a wine mean to you? And does it have anything whatsoever do say about quality and/or distinction?

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