TO RESERVE, OR NOT RESERVE
Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something! – Franklin D. Roosevelt
What is a “reserve wine.” As far as the governing agency is concerned… it is a wine treated differently than others within any one winery. If your imagination is anything like mine… you could come up with hundreds of “opportunities” to call something a “reserve.” Within our own Pianetta winery, we like to hold ourselves to a high standard when it comes to reserve wines. We also like to maintain a consistent standard which we can use as benchmark year after year. If you didn’t alreadyConstant barrel tasting! Just kidding…. Well. Kind of. Even though we pick from the same vineyards most years, most specifically the Cabernet Sauvignon from our own Estate Vineyard, there are always nuances and differences with each varietal from year to year. It isn’t so much these differences will make a wine better or worse, simply “different” for every vintage. There are certain traits we look for when deciding on a reserve wine. Flavor and complexity being one, however, potential for longevity is large factor.
If we determine a specific varietal displays the traits we are looking for, we start identifying “stand out” barrels; barrels we feel really stand head and shoulders above the rest. We use a medley of French, Hungarian, and most recently a few American oak barrels in our programs. There are also several different coopers within each origin of oak. This can create quite an interesting dynamic within one varietal when tasting for a reserve product. We have mentioned before, barrels are the spice rack of wine making. Each barrel leaves its own signature on the wine. When blended together, flavors are not lost, they just become part of a more complex creation. Instead of larger bold flavors, they become dynamic hints and elegant splashes of flavors mixed in with fruit and varietal characteristics. know, we do not create “reserve” wines every single year. It is only on certain vintages we will decide to blend a reserve product. This of course begs the question…. How do we decide when to make a reserve wine?
We just were able to put together our 2020 Reserve Cabernet. This wine has been made up of 5 new French oak barrels of varying coopers and 1 Hungarian producer. This wine will continue to age in the respective barrels for another 5 months before we let it age once again in the bottle before we release it to you.
Our process of creating reserve wines certainly leans more on the “art” side of wine making as opposed to the science side of things. But it is certainly the science that gets us to the point of enjoying the art. Also… the answer is yes… we felt the 2020 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon was deserving of a Reserve!