Home Winners > Winners 2014 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Bordeaux Blends: Australia

Winner Details

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Bordeaux Blends: Australia

2014: Gold 3 Silver 6 Bronze 5 Commended 5
2013: Gold 3 Silver 3 Bronze 4 Commended N/A
Must-list status: 60%
Overall SWA performance 2014: B-

’s presence in the Cabs section has been increasing steadily over the past few years, and the 19 awards (three of them Golds) this year was proof of a category as healthy as Mo Farah. 

There were signs of a similar stylistic shift here to that which has revitalised Chardonnay, with slightly less fruit sweetness and more freshness in the wines. 

This move was less successful at the lower end, with wines that simply didn’t have enough to them to be considered genuinely Australian. But moving up the price scale our tasters were excited to see clear regional styles, from the plush ‘Kelly Brook’ fruit of Coonawarra to the more restrained, ‘Cate Blanchett’ elegance of Margaret River.

Pricing is something of an issue. There were few sub-£10 medals of any colour, and there would seem to be something of a weak spot from £10-15, too. But (unlike with Chile, for instance) our tasters seemed fairly relaxed about this state of affairs.

‘Margaret River is already recognised as a premium region, so customers know the reputation and will buy these wines,’ said Gordon Lawrence of Fifteen Cornwall.

FOOTNOTE: Includes wines where Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Cabernet Franc are the main varietal, plus Bordeaux blends.

Star Performer

Congrats to Stella Bella, who picked up a terrific trio of Golds for their Serie Luminosa Chardonnay, Suckfizzle Sauvignon/Semillon and Serie Luminosa Cabernet. It’s a grand day in WA!

From the Tasting Teams

‘Margaret River’s style is a little more generous, concentrated and expressive than Bordeaux. This is useful in the restaurant because these are wines that usually drink well when they are young.’ Gordon Lawrence, Fifteen Cornwall

‘Customers know the style and those that like them are prepared to spend up. So it is quite easy to sell more expensive wines, so long as the wines are expressive enough.’ Riccardo Giacomelli, Bocca di Lupo

‘These wines were not too fleshy or meaty, showing some restraint, and there were some nicely balanced examples of the style.’ Mark Graham, Oxo Tower Restaurant

‘The prices of Margaret River can actually be very similar to Bordeaux, but these wines are often much more approachable and easier to understand, so they can give a lot of pleasure.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader