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

Winner Details

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends: USA


2015: Gold 3 Silver 4 Bronze 4 Commended 7
2014: Gold 0 Silver 5 Bronze 3 Commended 4


From one Gold in the past two years to three in one year, and with a good range of other medals to back it up, this was the best performance yet for the US in this category of the Sommelier Wine Awards. Admittedly, the prices were pretty punchy, but our tasters increasingly see these wines as top-end alternatives to big-name European styles, and provided the quality is there, they feel confident about being able to sell them. Most hearteningly of all, while these were all big wines, with a style all their own, taster after taster used the word ‘balanced’ to describe them, which hasn’t often happened in the past.

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

From The Tasting Teams


‘The integration was good. Californian wine is becoming more important for us at Hakkasan. Though Cabernet can struggle with our Cantonese cuisine because of the tannins, it does better with age.’ Rebecca Coates, Hakkasan London

‘There weren’t any fruit bombs here. They were big and serious but balanced. If there is an issue, it would be the price.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘Balance, power, richness and longevity. I can sell wines like this, no problem.’ Yves Desmaris MS, Lutyens

‘Cab/Merlot blends are not as easy to sell as they used to be. They are for a certain type of customer.’ Neil Bruce, Studio Alto

‘There were some lovely wines here. The best of them had a really lively expression of very ripe fruit, with integrated oak and tannins – juicy, silky and ripe, but serious in their character too.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘The least expensive Gold would end up on a wine list around £100; a very fair price that would be much cheaper than a super-Tuscan or top Bordeaux.’
Alessandro Marchesan, Zuma

Award winners

Found 18 wines

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

Darioush, Signature, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

Huge complexity lifted Darioush ahead of its competitors. Team leader Laura Rhys MS noted: ‘Black cherry, blackcurrant and bold tannins, sweet spice and plush, voluptuous character.' The Gilbert Scott’s Riccardo Guzzardo added: ‘Complex and spicy, with red fruit elegance.’ For food, 'look for bold flavours and rich sauces, or someting simple, such as ribeye steak', recommended Rhys.

£60.00 Darioush

Stonestreet, Monument Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Alexander Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

The perfect balance of fruit with savoury notes and a decidedly long finish brought home the Gold for Stonestreet. With Rebecca Coates of Hakkasan London finding ‘minty blackcurrant leaf and bramble’ fruit character. Neil Bruce of Studio Alto highlighted: ‘Toasty oak and restrained red fruits, fine and elegant with lovely balance.’ While some plumped for steak, chips and mustard, Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place went further, suggesting strong game with a rich sauce.

£23.90 Boutinot

Spring Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

A mesmerising wine, offering much class. Rebecca Coates of Hakkasan London said: ‘Cedar, vanilla, mellow, super-elegant with tobacco leaf hints.’ 'Wonderful acidity, grippy but juicy texture with massive, sexy tannins, greatly integrated oak with notes of every dark berry fruit known to man,' said Alessandro Marchesan of Zuma. Steak and chips or a beautiful piece of beef on the barbecue.

£65.00

Grgich Hills, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Napa Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Blackcurrant fruit with a creamy texture, though fruit a little subdued, with meatier, earthy notes on the palate and big oak,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS, with Riccardo Guzzardo of The Gilbert Scott adding: ‘Red fruit richness, spicy and elegant though tannic style.’

£38.50 Grgich Hills Estate

Hess, Select, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, North Coast, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Fleshy and fruity, balanced and elegant,’ began Neil Bruce of Studio Alto, while team leader Laura Rhys MS noted: ‘Dark fruit, blackcurrant, blackberry, with tannins a little drying, but plush with fruit.’

£12.95 Liberty Wines

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

Silver medal winner

‘Great example of a powerful red,’ said consultant sommelier Eike Bosche, continuing: ‘Cassis and cherry intensity, elegant, silky texture.’ ‘Deep, deep purple, a bit closed but warm and spicy, with red and black fruit and a soft vanilla creaminess,’ added team leader Tom Forrest.

£60.00 Darioush

Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Washington State, USA

Silver medal winner

While Giancarlo Cuccuru of The Gilbert Scott appreciated the 'nice rich, dark fruit with notes of herbaceousness and spice', team leader Laura Rhys MWS said: 'Juicy, rich and fruit-driven, this is pretty and elegant.'

£10.85 Enotria&Coe

Chimney Rock, Stags Leap District, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

While some noted the rich, dark fruits, the balance and the complexity, for team leader Tom Forrest it was: ‘Fresh aromas of warm spices and coconut oak with some minty leafiness. Hints of blackcurrant cough medicine, coconut and clove spice on the palate, warm and great length.’

£37.90 Matthew Clark

Truchard, Carneros, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Napa Valley, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Earthy aromas with savoury, meaty hints, blackcurrant fruit with big tannins on the palate and a fresh finish of red and blackcurrants, soft integrated tannins,’ said team leader Tom Forrest. ‘Green and grassy, fresh, elegant style,’ added Enikő Heidenwolf of Bread Street Kitchen.

£18.17 Bibendum

Trefethen, Merlot 2012, Napa Valley, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Juicy, ripe, jammy fruit, dark and bold, very classic in style with good balance,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS, with Studio Alto’s Neil Bruce agreeing: ‘Pretty classy, with cedar box and cassis nose, lovely poise.’

£16.95 Dudley Craig Wines

Alta, Vintner's Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Napa Valley, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Perfect pseudo-Bordeaux,’ began Enikő Heidenwolf of Bread Street Kitchen, continuing: ‘Lots of violet with a touch of earthiness. Ripe berries, not baked, elegant body with nice texture and smooth tannins. Outstanding.’

£42.42 Alta Winery

St Supéry, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£20.26 Laytons

Cartlidge & Browne, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, North Coast, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£10.63 Alliance Wine

Truchard, Carneros, Merlot 2010, Napa Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£15.44 Bibendum

Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley, Merlot 2012, Washington State, USA

Commended medal winner

£10.85 Enotria&Coe

Raymond, Family Classic, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, North Coast, California , USA

Commended medal winner

Delicato, Black Stallion, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Napa Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£17.44 Bibendum

Trefethen, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

 

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