The use of Reserve on Wine Labels in the United States
Though it tends to imply a high quality wine that is better than the “normal” bottling, it may simply be a marketing tactic. Scrupulous wineries that make Reserve wines save their best vineyard lots and grapes for a limited bottling. But even if this philosophy is adhered to, there can be quite a bit of confusion on the part of the consumer.
For example, Reserve wines often use particularly ripe grapes that have high flavor concentration. Especially in California, from many winemakers’ points of view, the fuller-bodied the Cab the better and more expensive the wine will be.
This is largely due to the wine press and blind tastings. The biggest, most concentrated wine will often stand out in a tasting of many wines. These wines get a lot of media attention largely because they are so brash that they demand attention. Clearly this is not to everyone’s taste, but these types of wines often get the Reserve designate.
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