We use cookies to operate this website and to improve its usability. Full details of what cookies are, why we use them and how you can manage them can be found by reading our Privacy & Cookies pages. Please note that by using this site you are consenting to the use of cookies.

Accept
Reject
Home Winners > Winners 2016 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux blends: South Africa

Winner Details

 New World: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux blends, South Africa

2016 Gold: 3 Silver: 8 Bronze: 4 Commended: 2
2015 Gold: 0 Silver: 4 Bronze: 4 Commended: 6

Many column inches have been given over of late to South Africa’s field blends with oddball (or hugely unfashionable) grape varieties made by Men With Beards. But perhaps we should be looking at the more traditional reds from more traditional bits of the Cape as well. This was South Africa’s best-ever performance in the Sommelier Wine Awards with Bordeaux reds, and our tasters were unreservedly delighted with what they got.

Unlike Australia, this was not simply a procession of Cabs – there were plenty of blends as well – and unlike Chile, our tasters had no problems with rewarding the more expensive versions either: the Gold medals ran from £12 to £24.

Moreover, there seemed to be a genuine ‘South African style’. In the past, this would have been a euphemism for ‘unripe tannins, masked by sugar’, but not any more. There was a distinctive voice here, and at times it was decidedly classy.

And if you ever wondered whether South African reds can age, you should check out the Critic’s Choice-winning Estate Red from Morgenster – a 2003 Bordeaux blend of rare beauty that had our tasters referencing top-level Bordeaux.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘This was a more than pleasant surprise. Lovely winemaking, not overdone, and you could tell it was South Africa – they had real South African style.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘Very consistent style and quality. Every vintage they’re fine-tuning their style, and at these price points they did deliver.’ Mahesh Nair, Charlotte Street Hotel

‘A good selection, all priced very well. Impressed.’ Roger Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

‘The most consistent flight we’ve had all day, but there was a real thread of style running through the wines. Once we got over £8 there were some very interesting quality wines at very decent price points.’ Hamish Anderson, The Tate Group

‘Across pretty much all of the price points there is impressive winemaking and expression. It would be hard to come across other Bordeaux blends at these price points that would hold up as well.’ Charlie Young, Vinoteca

‘This really shows why there is so much excitement in the market for South African wines.’ Peter McDaid, Spring

“They seem at ease with this style. This tasting really makes you take notice.” Charlie Young, Vinoteca

“Generally speaking they were classically structured wines, and I appreciated that from a food point of view.” Hamish Anderson, The Tate Group

“South Africa is doing very well with Bordeaux blends. Customers know that for less price they can get higher quality than in Bordeaux.” Carlos Ferreira, The Sign of the Don

Award winners

Found 17 wines

New World: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends, South Africa

Accolade Wines, Flagstone, Music Room, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Western Cape , South Africa

Gold medal winner

'This is generous yet fresh, with great balance and a very complex, long finish,' said The Clove Club's Sam Heathcote, while consultant Sumita Sarma added: 'A black fruit-driven, ripe and intense meat and food wine, with tobacco and leather-perfumed complexity on the palate, spicy pepper and clove notes, well-integrated oak plus a solid, structured base of alcohol and fruit.'

£12.40 Matthew Clark

Morgenster, Estate Red, 2003, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

Serious and inspiring, this, was a worthy Critics' Choice Trophy winner. Team leader Angela Reddin said: 'Deep and dense, an uncompromising style with velvety texture and tenacious grip on the palate, showing incredible density yet great balance,' while Mahesh Nair of Charlotte Street Hotel added: 'Good, elegant red with nice juicy fruit, chocolate and cassis,' while the Brackenbury Wine Rooms' Giancarlo Cuccuru picked up on the 'inviting nose', with its leather, herb, cigar box and smoky notes.

£25.36 Enotria&Coe

De Trafford, Merlot, 2009, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Gold medal winner

‘Very full mouthfeel, showing plenty of ripe cassis, dates, dried fruits and nice balance,’ began Mahesh Nair of Charlotte Street Hotel, with Hamish Anderson of The Tate Group agreeing: ‘Grippy but balanced, with a tarry, old school nose, notes of cigar and smoke.’ ‘Meaty, rusty nail notes with deep-set cassis fruit, smooth and well-developed tannins and nice structure. Ageing gracefully,’ concluded team leader Angela Reddin.

£16.93 Bibendum Wine

Groot Constantia, Gouverneurs Reserve, Red, 2012, Constantia , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Aromas of capsicum and fresh tobacco leaves, sappy and balsamic notes,' said Spring's Peter McDaid, adding: 'Pomegranate and dark cherry fruit on the palate, which shows integrated tannin and Middle Eastern spice notes.' 'Great typicity with super freshness,' added The Clove Club's Sam Heathcote.

£20.75 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Groot Constantia, Merlot, 2013, Constantia , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Strong, mint-fresh aromas with blackberry fruit notes, good integration on a long and fresh palate. Very good, premium style that's young and needs decanting,' said team leader Charlie Young. 'Quite broad and complex, with great integration,' agreed consultant Sumita Sarma.

£13.81 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Kleine Zalze, Cleefs, Reserve Collection, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Creamy, oaky nose with vanilla and cocoa powder, dark berry fruit, some herbal green notes in the mouth. Good pub wine,' recommended team leader Angela Reddin, with The French Table's Sarah Guignard adding: 'Soft chocolate notes alongside soft tannins.'

£6.87 Hatch Mansfield

De Morgenzon, DMZ, Quintet, 2012, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Farmyard and mushroom notes on the nose, but smooth with good balance, tannins and finish,' said Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don, with team leader Angela Reddin finding 'lifted, savoury aromas of meat jus with concentrated bramble and cassis fruit'.

£7.50 Majestic Commercial

Kleine Zalze, Family Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Silver medal winner

Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don noted 'green and black pepper, tannins with a slight green edge, but is a very good wine that needs a bit more time', with team leader Angela Reddin highlighting its 'lifted cassis, plum and kirsch fruit, fantastic intensity and depth of flavour'.

£19.21 Hatch Mansfield

Thelema, Merlot, 2012, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'An orange-tinged, ruby-coloured wine, this aroma and palate show an incredibly generous, mature fruit set and mouthfeel, with a long finish,' said an impressed James MacDuffie of Ubiquitous Chip. Team leader Hamish Anderson agreed, saying: 'There is a lovely fragrance here – herbs and lavender – and the tannins are not shy but supple.'

£12.08 Enotria&Coe

Buitenverwachting, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, 2013, Constantia , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Pure, ripe, pleasant nose, with elegant black fruit and fine tannins on the palate and flowing acidity. An elegant, attractive wine,' said team leader Charlie Young. 'Good concentration and great value for money,' said The Clove Club's Sam Heathcote.

£6.69 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Spier, Creative Block 5, 2011, Coastal Region , South Africa

Silver medal winner

'Tobacco leaf and cedar, some meaty hints, loganberry and cherry compote on the nose, medium body on the palate. Good food-matching wine,' said team leader Angela Reddin, with Robert Jones of Aramark at JP Morgan adding: 'Strawberries and cherries, oaky and herby, good with steak.'

£9.23 Bibendum Wine , Walker & Wodehouse Wines

Saronsberg, Seismic, 2013, Tulbagh , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

'Classical style on the nose, with blackcurrant fruit and dusty notes,' began Hamish Anderson of The Tate Group, continuing: 'Very good, bright fruit on a correct and pure palate, giving excellent value.'

£7.50 Forth Wines

Morgenster, Lourens River Valley, Red, 2003, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don found 'leather and spicy notes with good balance and good extraction', while team leader Angela Reddin noted 'some secondaries on the nose, showing coffee and cedar with dusty hints'.

£14.38 Enotria&Coe

Spier, Creative Block 5, 2012, Coastal Region , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

Hamish Anderson of The Tate Group found it 'taut and restrained on the nose, very elevated and upright', and suggested it needs decanting, though has 'lovely, finely tuned and elegant style with cigar and blackcurrant notes'.

£14.00 Bibendum Wine

Nederburg, Heritage Heroes, The Brew Master, 2011, Western Cape , South Africa

Bronze medal winner

Peter McDaid of Spring found 'forest fruit and fragrant pine needle notes, floral basil and eucalyptus on the palate', while team leader Charlie Young highlighted its 'savoury spice, punchy, stony character with a good tannin hit and dy, fresh finish'.

£11.56 Matthew Clark

Kleine Zalze , Vineyard Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon , 2013, Stellenbosch , South Africa

Commended medal winner

Nederburg, The Manor, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£6.60 Matthew Clark