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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux blends: Chile

Winner Details

New World: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux blends, Chile

2016 Gold: 4 Silver: 10 Bronze: 7 Commended: 6
2015 Gold: 4 Silver: 5 Bronze: 10 Commended: 15

After an oddly muted competition last year, Chile returned with some style this year. We had wines from pretty much every region of the country, and all seemed to find favour with the judges.

Chile’s strength remains the sub-£10 area, which it still seems to do far better than anyone else; very few of our medals were above this price level. It’s not that our tasters are inherently averse to rewarding Chilean wines at this price, but more that the wines often don’t deliver significantly more complexity – just more oak, gloopier fruit and a heavier bottle.

All our judges agreed that the country has a real role to play on a list: that of a refuge for the uncertain, the impecunious or the fruit-addicted. The question is (as it seems to have been for ever) whether the country can move beyond this and start creating more genuinely exciting Cabs around the £12-£15 mark.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Colchagua provides your House Red. Value is the word. They show varietal characteristics – you get plummy Merlot and nice, dark-fruit Cabernet. I brought a French Cabernet Sauvignon in to replace the Chilean and everyone wanted it back.’ Ian Howard, The White Hart Inn at Lydgate

‘The price is great. Bordeaux at £8 would be undrinkable.’ Bart Michalewicz, The Arts Club

‘For me, Colchagua’s too hot for Cabernet. There was a lot of hard acidity – and I don’t know if a lot of it was natural.’ Simon Woods, team leader

‘They were dynamic and fresh. Ripe fruits, spices, great balance. They would be amazing by the glass and would be great with food.’ Laurent Richet MS, Restaurant Sat Bains

‘Australian and Argentinian wines at this price couldn’t compete.’ Chris Woods, Chelsea Vintners

‘Chile’s strengths still lie at the value end of the market. Once you hit the £10-£12 bracket you get so much more from Australia, New Zealand, even Argentina. As you go up the price scale there should be more than just heavier bottles and more oak.’ Natasha Hughes MW, team leader

‘Good value for money from the start, but it took a bit of a dip in the mid-price. There’s heavy oak but enough fruit and opulence to offset that. Compared to other New World Bordeaux blends they lacked a bit of elegance.’ Harry Crowther, M Restaurants

“The Colchagua Cabernets were what I expected from a Chilean line-up: Cabernet varietal character, full body and big tannins.” Ian Howard, The White Hart Inn at Lydgate

“I quite enjoyed the lower price points: very good, honest, unoaked wines with good structure. There’re moving away from big and jammy to more freshness.” Matthieu Longuère MS, Le Cordon Bleu

“The most reliable flight we’ve come across in this competition for years. There were a lot of really well-made wines here.” Tom Forrest, team leader

Award winners

Found 27 wines

New World: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Bordeaux Blends: Chile

Luis Felipe Edwards, Gran Reserva, Merlot, 2014, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Gold medal winner

'Really delivers on balance and length,' said team leader Angela Reddin of this well-priced LFE Gold, continuing: 'Plum and redcurrant with a splash of cassis on a fruit-forward palate.' Gustavo Medina of Tate Britain found 'good, red forest fruit aromas' followed on the palate by 'firm tannins and good texture, with fruity freshness and cassis notes. Good by the glass.' Whatley Manor's Andrea Domenicucci went further: 'Good to drink on any occasion.'

£8.43 Matthew Clark

Apaltagua, Signature, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Maipo Valley , Chile

Gold medal winner

Classic notes allied with a polished finish helped Apaltagua bring home the Gold. Team leader Martin Lam highlighted 'typical mocha and plum notes, classic Maipo style, with lovely ripe fruit and acidity, and not over-oaked'. Enikő Heidenwolf of 67 Pall Mall found it 'velvety, spicy and complex', while Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu added: 'Full-bodied and extracted style, ambitious and modern, with really ripe, jammy fruit and toasty oak, vanilla notes.'

£15.96 Anthony Byrne Fine Wines

TerraMater, Limited Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Maipo Valley , Chile

Gold medal winner

A deft touch of oak allied with properly ripe fruit gives this Gold Lister 'long-lasting complexity', according to Vinoteca's Zigmars Grinbergs. 'Dark, rich and spicy red with plenty of fruit and good potential to develop,' said Michael Moore of Moore Show Cuisine, while team leader Natasha Hughes MW added that this is a 'crowd-pleasing style, with its smoky capsicum, plum and chocolate character and blackcurrant yoghurt notes on the finish'.

£8.91 Cockburn & Campbell

Siegel, Special Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Gold medal winner

Freshness and good value lifted Siegel to the top. 'Nice modern character married with a menthol, eucalyptus note. Good length and character at this price,' said Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners, while team leader Angela Reddin added: 'Sweet spice and plums on the nose carry through to the palate,' and Andrea Domenicucci of Whatley Manor complimented the 'good balance between acidity and alcohol'.

£7.00 Addison Wines

Santa Carolina, Reserva de Familia, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Maipo Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

'Good earthy development on the nose, with good expression of terroir on the palate and a medium-length finish,' said Harry Crowther of M Restaurants, while team leader Natasha Hughes MW found 'some dark cocoa and mint on an oak-dominated palate'.

£8.50 Ehrmanns

Luis Felipe Edwards, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

'Fruitcake and vanilla aromas with cedar wood notes, fairly tannic on the palate with fresh, pulpy berry fruits and notes of coffee and spearmint,' said consultant Luciana Girotto-Beckett. 'The ripe cassis fruit and soft tannins makes this a good choice by the glass,' said Gustavo Medina of Tate Britain.

£8.43 Matthew Clark , North South Wines

Undurraga, TH, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Alto Maipo , Chile

Silver medal winner

'Complex nose with meaty, savoury aromas, clove and strawberry fruit, ripe but not jammy,' began 67 Pall Mall's Enikő Heidenwolf, concluding: 'Textbook blend, fresh and clean on the palate.'

£8.81 González Byass

Luis Felipe Edwards, Flor del Fuego, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015, Central Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

This was a 'fruit bomb' for Cafe Murano's Mark Gurney, while team leader Tom Forrest found 'jammy red fruits and light spice notes on the nose, soft juicy fruit and clove hints on the palate, with plenty of sweetness'.

£4.75 Majestic Commercial

Montes, Alpha, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

'Very inviting on the nose, well structured with generous fruit on the palate. Ripe and uncomplicated, but pleasant on the finish,' said Bart Michalewicz of The Arts Club, while team leader Laurent Richet MS also found 'vanilla, welcoming black fruit jam and cocoa notes'.

£10.00 Liberty Wines

Casas del Toqui, Reserva, Merlot, 2014, Cachapoal Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

'Rich style with dark fruits and greener, leafy notes, full bodied on the palate, with some complexity and a long finish, at an excellent price,' said Erik Simonics of The Savoy.

£6.49 Frederic Robinson

Lapostolle, Cuvée Alexandre, Organic Merlot, 2013, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

'Very dark nose, with very rich and dark fruits echoing on the palate. Great structure,' said Bart Michalewicz of The Arts Club. 'Restrained and peppery, with lovely poise,' added Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners.

£11.75 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Casas del Toqui, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Cachapoal Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

'Savoury, smoky, fruit-forward style,' began Mark Gurney of Cafe Murano, while team leader Tom Forrest noted 'dusty sandalwood spice and black fruit, with nice, sweet ripe fruits on the palate, and not too jammy'.

£6.49 Frederic Robinson

Veramonte, Primus, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Maipo Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

Enikő Heidenwolf of 67 Pall Mall found this 'intense on the nose, with a hint of farmyard, black fruits and spices', describing it as 'not typical, but certainly worth a glass, with its savoury, meaty ripeness on the palate'. Alex Sergeant of Hurley House agreed, adding: 'Quite complex, with sweet herbs and black peppers, cherry and redcurrant.'

£11.40 Matthew Clark

Chilcas, Single Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

A richer, open style that's juicy big and rounded. Team leader Simon Woods noted: 'Gentle, ripe, not overdone style, with fleshy fruit propped up by decent structure on the palate,' and Bar 44's Owen Morgan picked up 'spice, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg'.

£10.78 Please contact winery for further information

Emiliana, Adobe, Reserva, Merlot, 2014, Rapel Valley , Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Cinnamon spice with jammy red fruits on the nose, soft and squashy fruit palate and very soft on the finish, which has decent length,' said team leader Tom Forrest. 'Great for pubs!' added Mark Gurney of Cafe Murano.

£5.95 Boutinot

Luis Felipe Edwards, Terra Vega, Reserva, Merlot, 2015, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Solid, fruity, classic herby style, with notes of blackcurrant and blackberry, good and honest,' said team leader Simon Woods, while consultant Luciana Girotto-Beckett also found notes of 'concentrated fruit, spices and liquorice'.

£5.21 Majestic Commercial

Undurraga, Founder's Collection, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Maipo Valley , Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Lovely, pure cassis fruit on the nose with taut tannins on the palate. This is very young and needs decanting, but it shows good complexity,' said team leader Natasha Hughes MW.

£16.97 Please contact winery for further information

Undurraga, Aliwen, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Maipo/Colchagua Valleys , Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Juicy smoked peppers and juicy plums on the nose, an easy-drinker with supple tannins,' said team leader Natasha Hughes MW.

£5.89 González Byass

Tabalí, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Maipo Valley , Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Shy and subdued on the nose, but well made, with blackcurrant fruit aromas followed by spicy chocolate richness on the palate, plummy fruit and a refreshing structure,' said Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu.

£6.12 Boutinot

Valdivieso, Caballo Loco, Grand Cru, Apalta, 2012, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Deep, dense, earthy tobacco on the nose, ripe and plush berry fruit on the palate, with damson and chocolate richness,' said team leader Simon Woods.

£18.54 Bibendum Wine

Bisquertt, La Joya, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Forest fruits and spice notes on a very pleasant nose,' began Ian Howard of The White Hart Inn at Lydgate, going on: 'Nicely balanced tannin and fruit with black cherry on the palate.'

£5.39 Molson Coors

Haras de Pirque, Hussonet, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Maipo Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

TerraMater, Vineyard Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015, Maipo Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

Emiliana, Novas, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, 2013, Maipo Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.15 Boutinot

Veramonte, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.75 Matthew Clark

Errazuriz , 1870, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Aconcagua Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

Santa Rita, Gran Hacienda, Merlot, 2014, Central Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner