The wine’s finish is how long the flavor lasts after it is swallowed. Did it last several seconds? Was it light-bodied (like water) or full-bodied (like the consistency of cream)? The finish brings it all together. This is where the wine will leave its lasting impression.
In many cases, the finish amplifies the tannic strength of a wine. Sometimes, a finish can last for more than a minute as additional flavors are revealed. To get a sense of this, try closing your eyes once you swallow the wine. Savor the flavors and concentrate on any additional flavors that you did not initially pick up. How the wine finishes is a very personal experience and will ultimately lead you to another sip (or not).
Finally, the finish can also help you determine what type of food you may choose to pair with the wine. If the finish is big and tannic, a piece of well-fatted meat is a good choice. The tannin will help to cut through the fat of the meat. If the wine is more subtle on the finish and delicate (like a Pinot Noir), a simple chicken breast or fish dish would go very well. The most important thing to keep in mind is to create balance. If the dish is balanced with the wine then it’s probably going to be a match made in heaven!