Oeno-File, the Wine & Gastronomy Column

by Frank Ward

Finesse – What is it?

Posted by Frank Ward on March 31, 2016

AvatarMarch 2016. Finesse is as rare and elusive as truffles. It is also extremely difficult to define, yet the word is absolutely the mot juste when it comes to certain wines. And those wines, I would argue, are as perfect as humans – and nature – can make them. Dictionary definitions of finesse are imprecise, especially when it comes to finesse in wine: “delicacy” and “subtlety” crop up often but that’s only part of the picture. The great Emile Peynaud defined it as follows: “Finesse is the sum total of qualities which go to make up a fine wine; it is distinguished by the delicacy of its aromatic savour, the appeal of its bouquet, its clarity of taste and colour and its overall perfection” [….]

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