What Does “Reserve Wine” Mean?

Posted By Don Sumner on Aug 15, 2014 |

At Sumner Vineyards, we set aside small lots of our best grapes to receive new oak barrel aging. These hand-picked selections then receive our Pinot Noir Reserve designation. The difference in flavor in the Reserve is—in addition to the berry fruits in both Pinots—a warm gingerbread aroma and spiciness on the palate. It pairs beautifully with an autumn meal of roast goose or smoked ham.

Wikipedia says that:

“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 / reserve / 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.”

A “reserve” designation isn’t a marketing strategy for our Sumner Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve. Here, the term means small production, finest grapes, oak barrel aging, and a delicious increase in spicy flavors and aromas.