Reserve Wine TermThe world of wine is sometimes like the old Wild West. Winemakers can put anything they want on a wine label and it means nothing at all. Reserve is one of those cases.
Yes, there are some countries which strictly control who can put the word "reserve" on their bottle, that it must be aged X years or of grapes of Y quality. Really, though, in most places the word "Reserve" is just that - a word. It simply means the winemakers wanted to throw an extra word on the label.
For example, a winery might make 8000000 gallons of Merlot in a given year. They might bottle most of it immediately. They might set aside 10% of their volume and age that 10% for three years in oak before bottling it. They'll call that extra-aged wine a "Reserve" to distinguish it from their main run. That is their naming choice as a winery, to make that distinction.
Your best option is to go to a winery's website and find out what they do to their "Reserve wine". That will let you know how it differs from their standard wine.
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All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.