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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends: Australia

Winner Details

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends: Australia


2015: Gold 6 Silver 6 Bronze 5 Commended 5
2014: Gold 3 Silver 6 Bronze 5 Commended 5


Overall, a very good performance from Australia, with the country comfortably turning in the best performance with Bordeaux varieties in the New World. Yet it wasn’t quite as straightforward as ‘brilliant across the board’. South Australian blends fared markedly less well than wines from specific areas, suggesting, perhaps that (a) sommeliers can sniff out terroir like sharks can sense blood, and (b) some places simply do these grapes better.

On this evidence (hold the front page), those places would be Coonawarra and Margaret River, which accounted for three-quarters of the medals – and all the Gold-Listed wines.

Star Performer

Congratulations to Katnook Estate, which picked up its second Gold on the trot (Cabernet last year, Merlot this) and Stella Bella, whose 2012 Serie Luminosa Cabernet followed last year’s 2010 on to the Gold List.

FOOTNOTE: Includes wines where Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot is the main variety, plus Bordeaux blends.

From the Tasting Teams


‘The Margaret River wines were pretty impressive at all price levels. They don’t start cheap, but they didn’t fail to impress – typicity, finesse, maturability. The region has a quality image. So when you say this will cost £60-65, people are more open to that.’
Martin Lam, team leader

‘The Coonawarra flight was really outstanding – Coonawarra is the great terroir of Australia.’ Andrea Fasan, La Petite Maison

‘I have this fear of what Australia is doing when not in the top areas. Everyone’s talking about premiumisation, but a lot of people are sticking French oak into wines which would be better off aged in inert vessels.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

‘The Margaret River flight were all big wines but with elegance, restraint and savoury undertones.’ Courtney Stebbings, consultant sommelier

‘There was a higher percentage of duds [in the pan-Australian flight] than I expected.’ Chris Wood, Chelsea Vintners

Award winners

Found 22 wines

New World: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends, Australia

Voyager Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2010, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

Restraint, elegance and sophistication characterise Voyage Estate's Gold winner. ‘Some developed, leathery character and lovely balance. Very drinkable,’ said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto, with team leader Martin Lam adding: ‘Inviting, sweet fruit nose. Big cassis bomb with savoury insides.’ Match with smoked duck with berry sauce.

£24.17 Justerini & Brooks

Stella Bella, Serie Luminosa, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

'Uber-drinkable', according to consultant sommelier Courtney Stebbings, illustrating why Stella Bella followed last year's Gold for the 2010 cuvée of this wine. ‘Coffee, cocoa, currant and leafy notes, a top wine meant to age,’ said consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet, with team leader Martin Lam agreeing: ‘Leaner, elegant nose, silky, rich and refined, a long-term wine.’ 'Chocolate fondant and raspberry coulis,' added Stebbins, 'violets, berries, forest floor…' Match with hard or goats' cheese.

£30.05 Alliance Wine

Katnook Estate, Merlot 2010, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

Age and complexity took Katnook to the top with its Merlot. ‘Vibrant fruitiness, French-style complexity with an Aussie accent,’ began Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel, continuing: ‘Full, well balanced with ripe tannins, good acidity and a fresh strawberry finish.’ ‘Approachable style, with elegant earthy, flinty developed fruit,’ agreed Robert Mason of Cheese at Leadenhall, while consultant Michael Harrison added: 'A ripe, spicy, herbal palate, with lovely tannins.' 'Conger eel stew in red wine sauce,' recommended Matthieu Longuere MS of Le Cordon Bleu.

£15.63 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Vasse Felix, Heytesbury 2010, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

A show-stopper, this wine warranted a ‘Wow’ from Charles van Wyk of FJB Hotels, who said: ‘Intense concentration of black cherry and blueberry along with complex notes of cedar and spice. Palate rich and complex, with notes of oak.’ Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, with Malbec and Petit Verdot in support, team leader Jade Koch said: 'Well made with violets on the finish, great acid/tannin balance, this is refreshing and exciting, and a good alternative to Bordeaux. Will age, but great now with beef and venison.'

£35.92 Negociants

Fraser Gallop Estate, Parterre, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

Dellcious flavours, much complexity and a true elegance lifted Fraser Gallop's wine above the crowd. Consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet found it a ‘more meaty and leathery style’ that was drinking well but would also age. Consultant sommelier Courtney Stebbings noted: 'Mushroom, balsamic vinegar, cured meat and soy sauce, this has a mouth-gripping tang.' ‘Wow! Lovely balance and poise with deep, dark fruit and an enticing nose,' said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto. Match with oxtail and beef cheek with mushrooms.

£20.58 Bibendum

Brand's Laira, The Laira, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

'A pure taste of one of Australia's greatest wine regions,' said Hakkasan Group's Christine Parkinson, of this easy-drinking, well-priced red from Brand's Laira. ‘Flowery complexity with dark fruit and green bell pepper, nice sweetness and a rustic, tannic finish,’ said Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel, with Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison adding: 'Balanced nose, which is complex, long, herby and fruit-driven. Long and juicy on the palate. Rib-eye!'

£8.22 Sogrape UK

Peter Lehmann, Mentor, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Hearty nose with a medicinal note, but complex oak and fruit on a well-integrated palate,’ said Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners, with Robert Mason of Cheese at Leadenhall adding: ‘Vibrant, ripe red and black fruits with a smoky, earthy feel.' Match with beef stew or roast duck and ceps with rosemary and thyme.

£18.50 Liberty Wines

Voyager Estate, Girt By Sea, Cabernet/Merlot 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Clean and bright, with red fruit aromas, dry and creamy on the palate with elegant, bright, fresh character,’ said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto, with consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet adding: ‘Fresh tobacco leaf, touch of eucalypt and pretty big fruit.' Consultant sommelier Courtney Stebbings noted: 'Gunflint, tar and black pepper.'

£12.29 Justerini & Brooks

Hay Shed Hill, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Mint and menthol, quite elegant and very typical style,’ began team leader Martin Lam, with Neil Bruce of Studio Alto adding: ‘Lifted, bright, deeply fruity nose, fine-grained tannins for a lovely, elegant wine.’ 'Sweet spice, herbs and hickory alongside ripe blueberries,' said consultant sommelier Courtney Stebbings.' Pair with barbecue steak.

£12.95 Bancroft Wines

Cherubino, Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Chocolate, fruit and spices combine with mocha notes on the nose,’ began team leader Martin Lam, continuing: ‘Very generous, but controlled release of fruit and savoury elements. Very fine.’ ‘Lovely leafier notes and super-fine tannins, spicy and balanced,’ added Neil Bruce of Studio Alto.

£29.48 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Wynns, Black Label, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Fruit-forward, rich style with stewed plums and blackcurrants, lifted by notes of redcurrant. Overall a complex and balanced wine,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Robert Mason of Cheese at Leadenhall noting: ‘Smoky, herbal hints with sweet spice and capsicum.’

£15.22 Bibendum

Fraser Gallop Estate, Cabernet/Merlot 2013, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Quite savoury and spicy with super-fine tannins. Good now but a way to go,’ said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto of this wine, with its herbs, tobacco and dark chocolate. Consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet noted: ‘Earthy and dusty aromas with a silky texture, very polished palate.’

£13.89 Bibendum

Accolade Wines, Hardy's, HRB, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Coonawarra/Margaret River, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Green, fresh eucalyptus aromas, good concentration with a sharp, full-bodied palate and mineral finish,’ said Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel. ‘Perfumed, round and rich, with cherries and cocoa on a dry, smooth palate,’ agreed Robert Mason of Cheese at Leadenhall.

£17.50 Matthew Clark

Accolade Wines, Starve Dog Lane, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Cranberry and red plums with ripe soft tannins, spice and cedar notes,’ began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Vittorio Gentile of Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel highlighting: ‘Eucalyptus and dark fruits, nice and smooth with ripe plums and a juicy finish.’

£10.87 Matthew Clark

Stella Bella, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Deep and dark, rich and spicy/eucalypt aromas, fine tannins and good balance and weight on the palate,’ said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto, with consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet adding: ‘Red berry nose with spice and earthy notes, deep and savoury.’

£14.28 Alliance Wine

Peccavi, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Plenty of extraction, with youthful black fruit, cassis and spices on the palate,’ began team leader Martin Lam, with Studio Alto’s Neil Bruce noting: ‘Lovely fruit and oak integration, firm/flaky tannins and juicy fruit on the palate.’

£17.55 Genesis Wines

Dandelion Vineyards, Pride of the Fleurieu Peninsula, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Showing eucalypt and sweet red berry fruit, delicious and attractive style with juicy tannins,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Robert Mason of Cheese at Leadenhall noting: ‘Full, perfumed, rich, silky, with robust tannins, black fruits and a hint of spice.’

£9.50 Liberty Wines

Moss Wood, Ribbon Vale Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2011, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£14.03 Laytons

RedHeads, Whip-Hand, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Deakin Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Victoria , Australia

Commended medal winner

Wynns, The Siding, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£11.77 Bibendum

Mitolo, Serpico, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£25.25 Liberty Wines

 

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