Thursday, February 16, 2012

The edge is the frame, not the finish.

The right hand edge of One: Number 31, 1950 completed in 1950 by Jackson Pollock (who died in 1956). You might notice how the curving lines of paint weave back in on each other rather than direct out towards the frame.
I've heard it said that the length of what we refer to rather fatally as "the finish" is perhaps the single best indicator of greatness in a wine. That a wine with a long finish is a great wine, and that a great wine has a long finish. It would seem to these commentators that how long the experience lasts is the most important matter. And I flatly disagree. I don't see the finish as the end of the wine, I see it as the frame. And it should throw the rest of the flavors in relief.

A bitter finish can be a wonderful flourish. As in a Barolo. A lifted finish can be a mouthwatering finish. As in a Sangiovese. A dry finish can bring perfect, defining resonance to the sweet fruit of a Chenin Blanc or Riesling.

A good finish does not exist by itself. It might act as a seesaw, counterbalancing the flavors that came before, or it might act as a balloon, bringing up and giving lift to those flavors. A wine might act as a swing, with the body sent curving through the air with legs held out straight. The finish retraces the swing's arc, the motion pulling you back and past where you started from, to a place you cannot see.

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