Food - Drink
What Does 'Reserve' Mean On A Wine Label?
BY MEGGAN ROBINSON
Most consumers would hope that what they read on the label of a bottle of wine means something of significance, but like all commercial products, even the "fanciest" of wine brands may use hollow buzzwords to make their products sound more appealing. "Reserve" is one term you may see on a bottle that can be a bit confusing.
"Reserve" isn't a regulated term on U.S. wine labels, so in a legal sense, the term is meaningless. Some wineries do use the word "reserve" to designate small lots of wine, or even wine made using one exceptional barrel or vineyard, but others use it as a fancy-sounding marketing tool, regardless of the quality of the wine.
Unlike America, Italy and Spain do regulate "reserve" wine, though the aging requirements differ depending on where the wine is produced. Reserva and Riserva (terms for reserve) wines from Spain and Italy will have been aged longer than non-reserve wines, and the process of selecting grapes for the wine is far more rigorous.