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

2018  Gold  3     Silver 8      Bronze 1      Commended  5
2017  Gold  1     Silver  3     Bronze 2      Commended  5

Those with a nervous accountant might want to look away now. There were few problems with the quality of the wines here, but the pricing…? Different story. Few categories had such a high average price of their medal winners as this one.

On the plus side, it did throw into even more remarkable relief the performance of the lone sub-£10 medal winner, the Gold-Listed Lost Angel. Very well done indeed!

Oddly, while our tasters all commented on the prices, few were overly negative about them. Californian wine (like Tuscan wine) simply is what it is and the devotees are happy to shell out the three-figures required to buy it.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘From completely lean to completely over-extracted. We were trying to find a happy medium.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘I expected big, bold, structured wines – and they were.’ Eva Krenkova, Restaurant Sat Bains

‘Not many ticked all the boxes, but those that did were stunning. There is some good stuff [in California], but you pay a premium for it.’ Euan McColm, Beaverbrooks

‘[The Lost Angel] was excellent value, coming in at under £10 – a really nice example of what a Cali Cab can be, it would be a good by-the-glass option. For under a tenner in California, you’re expecting something to be not quite right, but this did the job.’ Richard Cavagin-Carey, Harwood Arms

‘California is almost like Burgundy – a lot of it comes down to where it’s from and the producer. It’s something people actively seek out because they enjoy drinking it.’ Charles Pashby-Taylor, consultant

‘The Washington State wines were juicy, but balanced and elegant, between Argentina and New Zealand in style.’ Andrés Rangel, Sketch