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Winner Details

New World: Cabernet/Shiraz blends

With great accessibility and value for money, this was a small but useful category. Just don’t tell the Australians!

There are certain things that are good, useful and well priced but simply not on anyone’s radar. Things like gaiters, or Cheshire cheese. Or, on this evidence, Cab/Shiraz blends.

Have winemakers stopped making them? Or are importers forgetting that they have them? Or do restaurants show zero interest in them when they’re offered? Whatever the reason, it’s a shame, because (from a small pool of talent yet again) our tasters liked what they found.

Amazingly, given that all but one of the medals in this section have, in previous years, gone to Australia, this year saw a complete turning of the tables, with Chile (two) and South Africa taking the honours and the Aussies nowhere.

Top spot, indisputably, went to Undurraga for its Aliwen Cabernet/Syrah. One in a long line of outstanding wines from this winery that wowed our tasters at this year’s competition, it picked up both a By The Glass and a Critics Choice award as well as a place on the Gold List. Not bad for a wine at the kind of price that would have positioned it just north of the House Wine category.

‘It’s a house wine winner,’ said The Arts Club’s Athila Roos. ‘Better than anything we had in that flight.’

Overall, our tasters really liked the accessibility of what they were seeing here. ‘There were wines here of real flavour,’ said Tom Forrest of Vinopolis. ‘They’re a good style to sell to people who don’t traditionally go for wines with too much structure.’

‘The tannins are sweet,’ added Butlers Wharf Chop House’s Morgan Vanderkamer. ‘It really helps when you’re selling them to people in a restaurant.’

‘I liked the dark fruit flavours and the ripe tannins in these wines. The best had lovely texture and structure.’

Morgan Vanderkamer, Butler’s Wharf Chop House