What’s in a Name?
When the wine producers throughout Chile add various terms to their wine bottles, often wine drinkers are under the impression that these words have special meaning or a specific definition. That is not usually the case.
The terms Gran Reserva, Gran Vino, Reserva, Reserva Especial, Reserva Privada, Seleccion and Superior have absolutely no official definition. There are no regulations governing the use of these popular terms. Wineries can use these terms any way they’d like.
In Chile, wineries that produce quality wines are part of the Denomination of Origin (DO), referred to as American Viticulture Area (AVA) in the United States. However, D.O. wineries may use the term “estate” only when the vineyard and the winery are located in the same geographic region. Estate is the only term that has a legal definition.
Know Before You Buy
When purchasing a bottle of wine from one of the eleven wine-growing regions in Chile, do not make your selection simply because one of the above marketing terms is on the label. These fancy-sounding words do not speak to the quality of the wine. Pick your Chilean wine based on the producer.