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Home Winners > Winners 2018 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux blends: South Africa

Winner Details

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

2018  Gold 3      Silver 10      Bronze  1     Commended  7
2017  Gold  4     Silver 10      Bronze  7     Commended  8

With Australia stalling, Chile in a tailspin and the US established but expensive, South Africa cemented its place as the up-and-coming New World country when it comes to Cabernet and Merlot. It’s quite a turnaround for a place that as recently as 2015 picked up only a handful of medals, none of them Gold.

The progress since then has been remarkable. Not only does there seem to be a development of a genuine South African style – precision of ripe fruit, tauter acidity and tannin than Australia, less jammy and more grown-up than Chile – but the pricing remains decent. We found a good chunk of medals here, from £7 to nearly £30, and none of them was deemed overpriced.

Stellenbosch has the history (and probably still the best climate) for these grapes, but there were medals from across the Cape, suggesting that there’s more still to come with these varieties from the tip of Africa. Quietly exciting!

Oh, and very well done to Morgenster for the third consecutive Gold medal for its clearly exceptional Estate Red. From 2001, this one totally proved that good Cape reds can age superbly.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘The quality was very good. There were some ‘underripe/overripe’ characters, but lots to please people.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘A number that were shining through. Some wines were very distinctively South Africa, but others that were more just a Bordeaux style. They both had their merits. The Bordeaux styles you’d be hard pushed to spot in blind tastings.’ Michael Fiducia, Coworth Park

‘Very true to the area they’re from. I was expecting them to be over-extracted and heavily oaked but it was the opposite of that – firm structure, fruit concentration, complexity and very good winemaking. And astonishing value.’ Mattia Mazzi, Lutyens Bar & Restaurants

‘A really great flight – the wines were well made, balanced, not overripe, good acidity, precise in terms of fruit and spiciness. Lots of oak on some of them, but it gave complexity to the wines.’ Adam Michocki, Glasshouse

Award winners

Found 21 wines

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

Tokara, Director's Reserve, Red 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

‘A ripe, fruit-forward style, with a good backbone of new oak, a silky mouthfeel, and good length,’ said Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia, echoing other judges’ sentiments as this took its place on the Gold podium. Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles, meanwhile, enjoyed ‘a fruity and spicy nose, leading to a balanced palate’, while team leader Laura Rhys MS declared it ‘a food wine for certain’, and suggested a charcoal-roasted T-bone steak.

£23.74 Noel Young Wines, Alexander Wines, H2Vin

Journey's End, Single Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

A well-deserved Gold for this Cabernet, with its ‘wonderfully expressive nose, with a soft, creamy, rounded palate’, according to Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia. Team leader Angela Reddin praised its ‘classic nose with great fruit character, tannins that are firm but balanced, and a juicy finish’. Finding it ‘young and vibrant, with dark intense fruit’, team leader Laura Rhys MS saw it best served alongside barbecued wild boar.

£13.16 Bibendum

Morgenster, Estate Red 2001, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

‘A subtle but expressive nose of berries and oak nuances in harmony and balance,’ was the praise for this wine from Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia as it took Gold, while team leader Angela Reddin thought it was ‘showing development on the nose, with oolong tea and some developed fruit notes, and with an underlying fruit core’. ‘Mushroom and leather aromas jump out, with stewed strawberries and a touch of spice, leading to softened tannins and integrated acidity, and a superb finish with some barnyard and umami flavours,’ added Three Chimneys Restaurant’s Petri Pentikainen.

£27.50 Enotria&Coe

Noble Hill, Estate Reserve 2014, Simonsberg-Paarl, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Lovely fruit balanced by tannin and acidity,’ began team leader Laurent Richet MS in his praise of this Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend, while Adam Michocki of Glasshouse went on to describe it as ‘smooth and juicy, with redcurrants and red cherries, and a toasty note, too’.

£10.00 Carte-du-Vin

Buitenverwachting, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2014, Constantia, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants found this wine to be ‘herbaceous and smoky, with dark fruits and intense oak’, while Adam Michocki of Glasshouse described ‘black cherry and cassis notes, as well as some toast and vanilla’, too.

£7.19 Berkmann Wine Cellars

De Trafford, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘A classy wine,’ was team leader Angela Reddin’s take on this Cabernet, finding ‘a classic cedary cigar box nose, with sweet oak – a superb style, and ready now’, while Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles found it ‘vibrant and fresh, with tobacco and leather notes’.

£23.79 Bibendum

Journey's End, The Cape Doctor, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Delicious,’ began team leader Angela Reddin, before going on to describe a Cabernet Sauvignon with ‘an open, vibrant, fruity nose, with hedgerow and stone fruits, leading to a beautifully clean, fresh and polished palate, culminating in a delightful finish’.

£19.17 Bibendum

Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Great balance and tannin structure,’ began team leader Laurent Richet MS, who thought this was like ‘cranberry juice with blackberry cordial, leading to a smoky finish’. Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants, meanwhile, appreciated its ‘power, structure and concentration of fruit’.

£9.74 Hatch Mansfield

Shannon, Mount Bullet, Merlot 2013, Elgin, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Juicy concentration and smooth, ripe tannins,’ began Adam Michocki of Glasshouse in his praise of this Merlot, going on to find ‘red fruit character, like cranberries, strawberries, blueberries and redcurrants’, while team leader Laurent Richet MS appreciated its ‘lovely purity and vibrant acidity’.

£23.41 Matthew Clark

Spier, Creative Block 5 2014, Stellenbosch/Groenekloof, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘A fruit-forward wine with prune notes, as well as some vanilla and chocolate,’ said team leader Laurent Richet MS, while Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants appreciated ‘gentle oak and a fine nose of cassis’, which led to ‘more cassis and cranberry on the palate, with good concentration and lovely structure’.

£11.88 Bibendum , Walker & Wodehouse Wines

Distell, Nederburg, The Brewmaster 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Chocolate laced with red and black fruits,’ began Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants, going on to describe a wine with ‘good structure, lots of ripe fruit, and a lovely finish – and age worthy, too’. Glasshouse’s Adam Michocki agreed, describing this as ‘complex, and a lovely wine for food’.

£11.89 Distell Europe

Distell, Nederburg, Two Centuries, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

This was ‘toasty, with some black cherry, cassis and chocolate’, according to Adam Michocki of Glasshouse, while Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants found ‘plum and blackberry fruit, as well as some spice, and a firm, muscular tannic structure, yet balanced, with a long, intense finish’.

£16.03 Distell Europe

Asara, The Bell Tower 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘A great nose, leading to good acidity and a soft, nice texture,’ said Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles of this Cabernet-based blend, going on to find ‘red fruits, spiciness and chocolate notes, with good length and finish’.

£15.48 Hard To Find Wines

Martin Meinert, Merlot 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin found ‘wet sand aromas, then dark fruits, leading to slightly puckering tannins’, while Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia enjoyed ‘savoury notes and bell peppers on the nose, leading to more of the same on the palate, with subtle oak nuances’.

£10.76 Enotria&Coe

Groot Constantia, Gouverneurs Reserve, Red 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Van Biljon, Cinq 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£22.15 Eurowines

Swartland Winery, Founders, Merlot 2016, Swartland, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Kleine Zalze, Family Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£20.12 Hatch Mansfield

Shannon, Merlot 2015, Elgin , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£13.03 Matthew Clark

Martin Meinert, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£12.32 Enotria&Coe

Restless River, Main Road and Dignity, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£27.50 Swig Wines

 

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