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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Franc

Winner Details

New World: Cabernet Franc

2015: Gold 3 Silver 7 Bronze 2 Commended 3
2014: Gold 1 Silver 0 Bronze 1 Commended 0

Whisper it, but has the New World been wrestling with the wrong Cabernet grape all these years? After patchy showings for Cabernet Sauvignon (bar the cheaper offerings from Chile, and the pricey ones from Oz and the US), the performance of its younger brother here was stunning – not least because it was so unexpected. 

Between them, South Africa and Argentina rustled up more Golds and Silvers here, with far fewer entries than they did for the great Cab Sauv, with taster after taster knocked out by what they were trying. One of the undoubted (and surprise) stars of this year’s competition.

From the Tasting Teams

‘The styles were accessible, but different – and perfect for modern cuisine. If I was putting these on a list I wouldn’t be referencing the Loire.’ Neil Bruce, Studio Alto

‘There are some cracking Cabernet Francs around the £10 mark, and a lot of these had that lovely trademark leafy character, but without ever dipping into greenness.’ Michael Harrison, consultant

‘Cab Franc is beginning to show how classy a grape it is. People are beginning to learn how to work it. It’s a graceful, high-toned variety when it’s allowed to show itself, and it did that here.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘Cabernet Franc is gaining notice in several places around the world, and there is a lot of interest in the variety, at least among people who know a little about wine. The New World is making some great, varietally pure examples with a great balance of fruit and purity of expression.’ Frédéric Jean-Yves Billet, Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa

Award winners

Found 15 wines

New World: Cabernet Franc

Atamisque, Serbal, Cabernet Franc 2014, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

What a popular wine – and with good reason. Picking up the Pizza Food Match Trophy is no mean feat, but that wasn't the only tip. Think game, confit duck or duck and cherry, lamb! As with the other judges, what impressed Frédéric Jean-Yves Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa was this wine's complexity: 'Deep red colour, blackberry jammy character and concentrated.' 'Violet and heather notes, with a spicy, hot palate and nice lengthy finish,' added Louise Gordon of Lime Wood Hotel.

£9.87 Matthew Clark

KWV, The Mentors, Cabernet Franc 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

Wonderful complexity on the nose, with roses, violets and savoury notes intertwined, made The Mentors a stand-out. 'Clear and expressive with notes of spice, the acidity adds definition,' said Laszlo Vagasi of Kensington Wine Rooms, while team leader Angela Reddin found this a 'very classic Cabernet Franc' thanks to being picked ripe: 'Sweet, ripe, soft red fruits with a sprinkle of herbs and tobacco leaf.' Match with grilled fish with soy sauce.

£11.66 Bottle Green

Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Los Carneros, Cabernet Franc 2010, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

What a star! 'It's gutsy and leathery, with bark and beetroot. Both complex and balanced, with red notes of violets and roses,' said enthused team leader Andrea Briccarello. Equally, consultant Michael Harrison was taken by this wine's 'mid-intensity and good varietal nose', saying: 'Lovely, integrated oak and a leafy textural palate.' 'Super-ripe, fine tannins and lovely balance,' added Neil Bruce of Studio Alto. Although still young, 'There's a lovely grassy, pomegranate freshness to the full and rich body, with its good acidity. This is ready to go,' said Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel, suggestiong beef tagliate with rocket and parmigiano. Other tips included lamb, game, steak and cheese.

£24.00 Pol Roger

Darioush, Signature, Cabernet Franc 2012, Napa Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

'Velvet ripe, and big,' said an enthusiastic Neil Bruce of Studio Alto. Equally impressed, team leader Angela Reddin said: 'Dense, dark colour, lifted nose of rosehips, redcurrants and hints of orange peel. Smooth as silk in the mouth, with perfect poise and length.' With votes for wild boar and terrines, Louise Gordon of Lime Wood Hotel felt this was 'crying out for venison'.

£40.45 Darioush

Desierto 25, Cabernet Franc 2012, Patagonia, Argentina

Silver medal winner

'Sweet red and black fruit with nice herbal touches,' said team leader Angela Reddin, adding: 'Silky mouth entry with a lively, ripe tannic bite, and a sensational finish.' Match with steaks, grilled lamb, lemon chicken, venison, or duck.

£8.50 The Flying Corkscrew

Zorgvliet, Cabernet Franc 2012, Banghoek, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Deep, rich, dried fruit nose, with crunchy bramble and spice palate and a leafy lift,' said Studio Alto's Neil Bruce. 'Sour cherry, red capsicum nose, comes together nicely with a clove oak finish,' added team leader Angela Reddin.

£10.10 Boutinot

Santa Rita, Floresta, Cabernet Franc 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Still regarded as young, this wine has a bright future, but already it's 'very Cabernet on the nose, ripe and well structured, with lots of cranberries and bluberries. A well-balanced, textbook palate,' said impressed team leader, Andrea Briccarello. We'd love a return visit.

£14.25 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Valdivieso, Single Valley Lot, Cabernet Franc 2010, Lontué Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Impressed with the 'lovely winemaking' evident on the palate, team leader Angela Reddin noted: 'Brooding, deep nose, dark forest berries, smoke and earth. Elegant flavours.' 'Rich, big, spicy and intense,' agreed Studio Alto's Neil Bruce.

£11.28 Bibendum

Salton, Intenso, Cabernet Franc 2012, Campanha Gaúcha, Brazil, Other

Silver medal winner

'Deep, clean, leafy, plummy/bramble fruits. Dry, tart with ripe tannins,' said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto. 'Lovely raspberry leafy nose, medium length and weight,' added team leader Angela Reddin. Very good value, match with liver and kidney.

£5.96 Kingsland, Ravensbourne Wines

Morgenhof, Cabernet Franc 2013, Simonsberg, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Well extracted with good typicity, leafy and crunchy,' said consultant Michael Harrison. 'Smoke, leather and tar, dense flavours and very earthy. Still young,' agreed team leader Angela Reddin. 'Lovely blackcurrant and bramble jam with hints of spice. Veal shank,' said Louise Gordon of Lime Wood Hotel.

£13.37 Morgenhof Wine Estate

Rietvallei, JMB, Cabernet Franc 2011, Robertson, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

'With confit of redcurrants and a shot of earthy bramble fruit, the oak is showing nicely and it's balanced,' said Louise Gordon of Lime Wood Hotel, adding: 'Venison and cherry would be fab!' 'Soft and fruity, with a structured finesse and good minerality,' said consultant sommelier Deborah-Lynn Morris, adding: 'Great value for money.'

£10.20 Ellis of Richmond

Humberto Canale, Selección de la Familia, Cabernet Franc 2011, Patagonia, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

'Good cherry style, solid and tannic but tasty too, with a nice savoury edge,' commented team leader Simon Woods, adding: 'Intense and grippy.' 'Minty, spicy, black pepper and green pepper,' noted Frédéric Jean-Yves Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa.

£13.03 Enotria&Coe

Casa Valduga, Raízes, Cabernet Franc 2011, Campanha, Brazil, Other

Commended medal winner

Valle Secreto, Private, Cabernet Franc 2012, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£13.90 EWGA

Garage Wine Co, Lot #42, Maipo Alto, Cabernet Franc 2012, Maipo Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£14.60 Bibendum


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