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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux blends: Chile

Winner Details

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

2017 Gold: 4 Silver: 10 Bronze: 6 Commended: 9
2016 Gold: 4 Silver: 10 Bronze: 7 Commended: 6

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 29 wines

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

Vik, Milla Cala 2012, Millahue, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

This Gold-worthy blend was ‘a well-balanced wine, vibrant and complex’, began Francisco Macedo of Bovey Castle, continuing: ‘Vanilla, sweet spices and cedar with a vegetal note and great ripe black fruits on the palate, fresh and savoury on the finish.’ ‘Red fruit and smoke, with a hint of coffee, leading to a spicy palate with well-integrated oak. A match for slow-cooked beef,’ thought team leader Lionel Periner.

£22.00 Robert Rolls and Company Limited

iWines, Casa I, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Curicó Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

This Cabernet offered a fruit-forward experience worthy of Gold, as team leader Laurent Richet MS described: ‘Vibrant and very ripe red fruit on the nose, followed by bright flavours of cassis and plum on the palate with darker notes of liquorice.’ Quentin Loisel of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms liked its ‘jammy raspberry and menthol notes – a smooth and very well-balanced wine’, while The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira praised its ‘red cherry and fresh eucalyptus, with good acidity. A match for charcuterie and cheese.’

£8.77 Viña I Wines SpA

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

Gold medal winner

Adding a Gold to Apaltagua’s medal haul, this Cabernet was praised by Antonio Cuadros of The Don Restaurant for its ‘fresh aromas, with nicely ripe, fleshy fruit on the palate, chocolate richness and polished tannins’, while Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia highlighted its ‘lovely smooth, silky palate’. Sumilier’s Sumi Sarma described ‘dried fruit and floral notes, as well as some coffee – a rather elegant and well-balanced wine, made in a restrained style, with a gentle, lingering finish’, and team leader Laurent Richet MS thought it ideally suited to either a Sunday roast or beef-cheek ragu.

£12.93 Anthony Byrne Fine Wines

Montes Alpha, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group found this Gold winner to have an abundance of red fruit, showing ‘juicy, ripe strawberry, raspberry, cranberry and pomegranate seeds’, all backed up with ‘herbaceous character and well-integrated tannin’. ‘Good quality, crowd-pleasing style,’ added Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte. Team leader Angela Reddin described a ‘meaty, rich nose, with compact, concentrated fruits and some good oak – a big wine that needs bloody meat’.

£10.49 Liberty Wines

Undurraga, TH, Alto Maipo, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Maipo Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot found this a ‘deep, brooding style’, adding: ‘Very classic, with a rich, pronounced nose and full body making it a great food wine’. ‘Complex, a lot going on, textbook expression,’ added team leader Olivier Marie.

£14.60 Eurowines

Bisquertt, Ecos de Rulo, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Blue and black fruits’ were prominent for Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group, who enjoyed its ‘rich and creamy, dark chocolate character with luscious fruit, floral and minty notes with cooked fruit and a delicious, well-balanced finish’.

£7.65 Molson Coors

Siegel, Single Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa’s Frédéric Billet was drawn by this wine’s ‘nice oaky nose with elegant blackcurrant fruit’, also finding ‘nice spices mixing with light eucalyptus, leather and white pepper notes, all very pleasant with a long finish’.

£9.99 Carson Wines

Tres Palacios, Cholqui Blend 2014, Maipo Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia highlighted a ‘farmyardy, animal nose, with blueberry fruit notes on a well-balanced palate’, while consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates found that its ‘reductive character brings a different dimension’.

£17.30 Ellis of Richmond

Valdivieso, Single Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Lontué Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Immacolata Cannavo of Hakkasan Dubai alighted on ‘earthy notes, green bell pepper, black pepper and dark cherry’, while Francisco Macedo of Bovey Castle enjoyed its ‘good, ripe black fruit characteristics, violet notes with vanilla and minty blackcurrant leaf with a savoury edge’.

£11.40 Bibendum

Valdivieso, Caballo Loco, Grand Cru Maipo Andes 2013, Maipo Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Antonio Cuadros of The Don Restaurant enjoyed its uncomplicated ‘concentrated but restrained, plummy, high-pitch style’, while consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates praised its ‘good, sound winemaking and balance of flavours’.

£18.58 Bibendum

Sogrape, Chateau Los Boldos, Tradition Réserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Alto Cachapoal, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Would be a good choice for a pub at this price,’ said Francisco Macedo of Bovey Castle, who enjoyed its ‘black fruits of cassis, plum and black cherry, medium-weight tannins and medium body’.

£6.95 Liberty Wines

Veramonte, Merlot 2015, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘An uber-concentrated style with powerful mint on nose and palate with slatey mineral notes,’ began team leader Laurent Richet MS, who also found it ‘slightly green, needing a little more time, and fairly tannic, but it’s well integrated’.

£7.78 Matthew Clark

Luis Felipe Edwards, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte found that this wine’s ‘bright acids, balanced with bold fruit concentration’ resulted in a ‘nice easy-drinking style, revealing rose petal notes, violets and a tarry richness, with a long finish’.

£8.47 Matthew Clark, North South Wines

Echeverría, Founder's Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Maipo Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Smooth and spicy style with plenty of black fruit, cherry, blueberry and good balancing oak on the palate, long with a perfect finish,’ said The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira, with team leader Laurent Richet MS summing it up as: ‘Classic intensity of cassis and mint with oak – juicy, bright and delicious.’

£20.87 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Vistamar, Sepia Reserva, Merlot 2015, Maipo Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Classic, textbook style, ripe and fleshy,’ began team leader Olivier Marie, with Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot finding it ‘good for the price, with fresh cherry, eucalyptus and sandalwood notes, soft with a bit of development’.

£4.80 Kingsland

iWines, Qu, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Maipo Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

Well received by the whole panel, this showed ‘minty eucalyptus fruit with spearmint, high elegance and a balletic finesse with great length’, said team leader Olivier Marie. ‘Very pretty, expressive, ripe with lifted red fruit,’ added consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates.

£9.40 Viña I Wines SpA

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

Bronze medal winner

This was ‘intense and pronounced’, said consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates, with its ‘youthful feel, juicy umami and drying tannin’, while team leader Olivier Marie found a ‘fresh capsicum character, dusty with soya sauce and a richness on the finish’.

£8.38 Boutinot

Veramonte, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted found this a ‘great value for money’ option, with its ‘raspberry fruit, minerality and graphite character with blackcurrant through to the finish’, while Andrés Ituarte of Coq d’Argent pointed to ‘lots of medicinal notes, spice and iodine, backing up an interesting, red jammy palate’.

£7.78 Matthew Clark

Veramonte, Primus, The Blend 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted enjoyed its ‘driven, blackcurrant fruit, graphite and chocolate style’, while Frédéric Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa was impressed with its ‘animal nose, good black pepper and exciting spices’.

£11.43 Matthew Clark

Luis Felipe Edwards, Terra Vega, Reserva, Merlot 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Tiger balm-like aromas combining with bright red fruits,’ said Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Iterate, continuing: ‘It’s a touch reductive, but easy drinking in style, with darker notes of black tea.’

£5.21 Majestic Commercial

Ventisquero, Enclave 2011, Maipo Alto, Chile

Commended medal winner

£38.81 Bibendum

Bisquertt, Ecos de Rulo, Merlot 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.65 Molson Coors

Terramater, Magna, Limited Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Maipo Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

Siegel, Special Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£6.68 Carson Wines

Viu Manent, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Viu Manent, Single Vineyard, La Capilla, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Lapostolle, Cuvée Alexandre, Merlot 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Laberinto, Cabernet/Merlot 2011, Maule Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£17.82 Enotria&Coe

Pérez Cruz, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Maipo Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

 

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