Reserves Information

Reserve wine is a term given to a specific wine to imply that is of a higher quality than usual, or a wine that has been aged before being sold, or both. Traditionally winemakers would "reserve" some of their best wine rather than sell it immediately, coining the term.

In some countries the use of the term reserve/reserva/riserva is regulated, but in many places it is not. Sometimes, reserve wine originates from the best vineyards, or the best barrels, making it more special. Additionally, reserve wines might be made in a style suited to longer aging periods. However, in regions where the use is not regulated the mere presence of the term "reserve" on a wine label may be nothing but a marketing strategy. Indeed, in the case of one of the largest-selling premium wines, Kendall-Jackson chardonnay, every single bottle produced is "Vintner's Reserve." To indicate a genuine reserve wine, Kendall-Jackson had to resort to "Grand Reserve," which has caused some confusion among consumers.

In similarity to the term "old vines," "reserve" is meant to indicate a wine that is special, or at least different in flavor or aging potential. In general, the more reputable the producer, the more likely the term "reserve" has a genuine meaning. Similarly, the presence of a non-reserve or "regular" bottling with a producer that also sells reserve wine makes it more likely that there is something unique inside. Partly because of the often flimsy meaning of "reserve," many wineries produce named cuvées instead. Typically these are reserve wines in the genuine meaning of the word.

Wikipedia, Reserves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reserve_wine (as of Apr 7, 2010)

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