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home > food & wine dictionary > reserve

Food and Wine Dictionary


Brown text or background indicates a food entry.
Blue text or background indicates a wine entry.

 reserve 

Even though this term is found on U.S. wine labels, it has no legal definition, which means it can't be relied on to have any special meaning. Reserve appears on labels in a number of ways-Private Reserve, Proprietor's Reserve, Special Reserve, Vintner's Reserve, or simply Reserve. For some producers-like BEAULIEU VINEYARDS and BERINGER VINEYARDS-the term Private Reserve means the wines are their top quality. These wines are either produced from grapes coming from special vineyards or blended from superior batches of grapes. But the terms do not always indicate high quality and are often used simply for as a marketing ploy. The bottom line is that wines using any of these terms should be judged on their own merit and not on the labeling.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.


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