Home Winners > Winners 2019 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Franc

Winner Details

New World: Cabernet Franc

2019 Gold 2      Silver 2      Bronze 2      Commended 7
2018 Gold 1      Silver 5      Bronze 1      Commended 7

There have been murmurings about the potential of Cabernet Franc in the New World for a few years now – and this year’s showing will have done nothing to damp them down. They won’t have amplified them to a high-decibel yell either, but still – this is a category that seems, bit by bit, to be gaining fans.

First things first, don’t come here expecting cheap – our best-priced medal winner was £12, which puts it in the £50 area on most lists. But what’s actually in the glass is exciting: these are wines that have a natural lift and perfume, while the more reliable sunshine brings a little more generosity than you’d get in the Loire, say.

And that combination of elegance and approachability is understandably attractive to our somms. Moreover, the superb Stratus Cab Franc from Niagara was the kind of wine that can make you rethink entire regions. It was wonderfully elegant, and entirely worth its Critics’ Choice award. Our tasters loved it across the board, in both rounds of judging.


‘These were very interesting, and good quality. They’re quite different to Cabernet Franc from Europe. They were quite stylish, and a nice alternative to many other red wines. The best ones, that had harmony and were well balanced, went up to £20, which isn’t a bargain, but if you’re looking for something special for meat dishes, then it’s a really interesting option.’ Markus Dilger, Dilger Sommelier Selection

‘I’m a big fan of Cabernet Franc, both for the structure it can gain on ageing, as well as the opportunity to drink them young, with freshness and fruitiness without them being too dry. That’s exactly what we had here. They’re great value.’ Marco Marcuzzo, Aster Restaurant

‘This is a variety that has been forgotten for too many years, and seems to be coming back to life, with the ripeness of the New World bringing a sweetness. It’s so food friendly, and something you can talk to customers about. It works with a wide range of food, and you can drink it chilled, so it hits the spot in both summer and winter.’ Christopher Delalonde MS, The Dorchester

Award winners

Found 13 wines

New World: Cabernet Franc

Norton, Altura, Cabernet Franc 2017, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

As this Argentinian Cabernet Franc took its well-deserved spot on the Gold podium, team leader Jan Konetzki spoke of ‘sappy aromas of blackcurrant and red cherry, as well as some tomato leaf, which lead to a palate with some grip from smooth, polished tannins’. Team leader Martin Lam had praise for its ‘very savoury nose, and a smokiness, too’, while Moio Restaurant’s Carolina W Seibel thought it ‘very Argentinian, with some capsicum and dark berry notes’.

£12.75 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Stratus, Cabernet Franc 2015, Niagara Peninsula, Canada

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

Awarding Gold for this bottle, team leader Angela Reddin said: ‘This is lusciously ripe with fantastic balance,’ adding, ‘there’s a note of pink gooseberry among the rich bramble fruits and a sustained, evolving finish.’ Meanwhile Christopher Delalonde MS of The Dorchester noted: ‘The nose is ripe with stone fruit and berries and there are notes of black olive and minerals; the palate is elegant and interlaced with minerality plus there’s a nice lift of acidity and ripe tannin to balance the sweet fruit finish.’

£21.36 Bibendum

Garage Wine Co, Lot #82, Cabernet Franc 2016, Maipo Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘A true perception of fragrant Cabernet Franc that continues to grow on your palate,’ said Timothy Connor of Heddon Street Kitchen.

£18.31 Bibendum

Andeluna, Pasionado, Cabernet Franc 2016, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Herbaceous, with notes of bell peppers, blackcurrant and green leaf,’ asserted Lucie Kalertova of Sexy Fish, ‘with medium to soft tannins and mineral’.

£29.57 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Casarena, Lauren's Vineyard, Cabernet Franc 2012, Agrelo, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

‘Black cherry, dark plums, leather and forest floor,’ detailed Adam Michocki of The Glasshouse, who further described the wine as ‘perfumed with cloves, mint and rosemary’.

£16.55 Frederic Robinson

Rietvallei, JMB, Cabernet Franc 2014, Robertson, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Black fruit, jammy and bold,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS, ‘but with integrated tannins, perfume and freshness’.

£19.47 Rietvallei Wine Estate (Pty) Ltd

Gabriëlskloof, Cabernet Franc 2016, Cape South Coast, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£21.82 Liberty Wines

Salentein, Numina, Cabernet Franc 2014, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£19.85 Matthew Clark

Boutinot, Cabaret Frank No.2, The Aviary, Old Vine, Cabernet Franc 2017, Lodi, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£6.60 Boutinot

Valdivieso, Single Vineyard, Cabernet Franc 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£12.81 Bibendum

Zorzal, Eggo Franco, Cabernet Franc 2017, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

Stellenrust, Barrel Selection, Cabernet Franc 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£14.78 Bibendum

Dr Konstantin Frank, Cabernet Franc 2014, Finger Lakes, New York State, USA

Commended medal winner

£19.03 Matthew Clark