Home Winners > Winners 2014 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Bordeaux Blends: Rest of the New World

Winner Details

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Bordeaux Blends: Rest of the New World

2014: Gold 2 Silver 6 Bronze 5 Commended 11
2013: Gold 4 Silver 5 Bronze 1 Commended N/A
Must-list status: 70%
Overall SWA performance 2014: C

On one level, Argentina was the star here, picking up the only two places on the Gold List. But its paucity of Silvers and Bronzes (and five Commendeds) suggests that while it’s capable of great things (at good prices, too) there’s less consistency here than you might expect from a New World country, and buyers should beware.

Still, on the plus side, every taster recognised that the country’s wines are a must-list, (a) because customers know and like them, and (b) because they fit so brilliantly with the recent gastro-craze of big steaks and burgers.

‘Customers already know that Argentina is producing some very good Cabernets and Cabernet/Malbec blends, so they expect to see these wines on the list,’ said Xavier Rousset MS of Texture, 28°-50°.

California was something of a disappointment. After a good performance last year, entries were up in 2014, but the feedback from our tasters was mixed.

‘The cheaper end tasted like it was made by Pepsi – sweet fruit and sweet oak,’ growled consultant Ronan Sayburn MS. ‘Though overall the flight was quite good – it looked like they’re lowering alcohol levels and raising acidity levels, which is good to see.’

The trouble is that the non-Pepsi wines came at a price, both financial and in terms of drinkability.

‘You’re not looking at six months, but six years’ time for the top wines, and you can’t afford to gamble on that,’ said Roger Jones from The Harrow at Little Bedwyn. ‘Lovely perfume, but they were killed by tannins.’

It was good to see a few Bordeaux blends coming in from New Zealand at last (incredibly, the country has picked up more Golds for its Syrahs than for its Cabs in this competition) – and even if there were no Golds, the tasters were unanimous in enjoying the flight’s Bordelais lightness of touch.

‘I found a lot of elegance in the New Zealand entries,’ said Galvin Restaurants’ Joao Ribeira. ‘Complex wines showing terroir, but not at all expensive – these would be very easy to sell.’

FOOTNOTE: Includes wines where Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Cabernet Franc are the main varietal, plus Bordeaux blends. Excludes Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Bordeaux Blends from Chile, Australia & South Africa.

From the Tasting Teams

‘In California, we were thinking about the price tag for sure. The wines have to over-supply at that price.’ Jan Konetzki, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

‘The Argentines make better Cabernet than Malbec.’ Michael Harrison, Hotel du Vin Henley

‘There is a lack of education regarding New Zealand outside of Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, but these wines and other styles deserve to be better known.’ Charles Van Wyk, FJB Hotels