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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends - Australia

Winner Details

New World: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux-style blends - Australia

2019 Gold 3      Silver 8      Bronze 3      Commended 10
2018 Gold 2      Silver 7      Bronze 5      Commended 6

On the evidence of the Sommelier Wine Awards, Australia is far more successful with Shiraz and Chardonnay than it is with Bordeaux blends. But that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked.

Every year, it seems to knock out 14 medals (each of the last three years, weirdly), two or three of them Gold, and the feedback from the judges is positive too. It’s a reliably strong part of the competition.

Interestingly, for a country that has often made its name with inter-regional blends (and they accounted for most of our medals again this year), one of the factors our tasters enjoyed here was the very different styles on show from Margaret River and Coonawarra: mid-weight and lifted versus powerful and aromatic.

And one final observation: for a country whose wines are increasingly erring on the expensive side, the value for money here was really pretty good – half our medals were under £12.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Surprisingly fruit-forward. Starting from £7 there were wines with proper Australian Cabernet typicity, not suffering from overactive winemaking. We were pleasantly impressed by that – distinctively Australian. Solid, commercial wines that really came from somewhere. And no signs of acidification either.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘They do a great job with Bordeaux blends in Australia.’ Carlos Ferreira, team leader

‘Not a fashionable style, but it sells well. French varieties in Australia are on the way out, they don’t suit the climate. A lot more Mediterranean varieties are starting to come in that work with the climate a bit better.’ James Fryer, Woodhead 17

‘They ticked all the boxes for Australian Cabernet. Fresh, none were overcooked or over-extracted.’ Tomasz Kuszneruk, Pavilion Wine

‘I was very impressed. All under £20 and a couple really shone.’ Jim Bass, Scarlet Hotel

‘The Margaret River wines were fresh, with good acidity – you can see the class. Not overly ripe. Some from Coonawarra were just too intense and aromatic – it would be hard to share a bottle.’ Laurent Richet MS, team leader

‘Most had ageing potential, and a few years ago they would have been too jammy.’ Daniel Jonberger, Rockliffe Hall

Award winners

Found 24 wines

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

Xanadu, Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

This ‘stylish wine, with graphite and blackcurrant character’, according to Tatiana Mann of The Vine Eno Gastropub, snapped up Gold, with Adam Michocki of The Glasshouse describing ‘ripe dark forest fruits joined by cinnamon and vanilla, with plush tannins balancing the alcohol, and with both adding to the intensity of flavour’. The Cross Kenilworth, Simpsons & Edgbaston’s Giuseppe Longobardi thought that its ‘violets and cherries, with a spicy finish of cloves’ made it a perfect match for ‘pickled walnut and braised beef pie’.

£15.19 Bibendum

RedHeads, Nobs & Snobs 2017, Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia

Gold medal winner

Standing out as a clear Gold medallist, this was ‘fresh, with some eucalyptus aromas, leading to a smooth and silky palate, with good tannins and a black olive note’, according to Clément Loubeyre of The Cross Kenilworth, who considered it ‘really good value’. Team leader Jan Konetzki found it to be ‘juicy and grippy, with red and black fruit, as well as some oyster shell notes, making it a good match for lamb with mint sauce’.

£8.61 Direct Wines Production

McWilliams, 660, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, New South Wales, Australia

Gold medal winner

Judges heaped praise on this Gold-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, with an impressed Dave Cushley of Prestonfield House calling it ‘restrained and elegant – a real step up – with savoury, earthy black fruits and subtle tannins’. Team leader Carlos Ferreira added additional notes of ‘mushroom and tobacco on the nose’, while Woodhead 17’s James Fryer spoke of ‘juicy dark fruits led by pepper and earth on a perfectly balanced palate, with velvet tannins’.

£10.61 Enotria&Coe

Kingston Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

Adam Michocki of The Glasshouse spoke of ‘an expressive wine, with cassis, bramble, eucalyptus, toast and oak’, while Elena Serban of Hakkasan found ‘graphite, ink and blackcurrant notes’. ‘Round, fruity, balanced and classic,’ concluded team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£9.98 House of Townend

Mitolo, Jester, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘A very well-balanced wine that’s showing some evolution,’ began Tomasz Kuszneruk of Pavilion Wine, going on to describe ‘a mix of fresh berries, along with some tobacco and leather notes, combined with some good acidity’.

£11.77 Liberty Wines

Dandelion Vineyards, Pride of the Fleurieu, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘A fresh mix of red and black fruit, together with some mint and eucalyptus, leading to a full-bodied palate with generous tannins,’ described Tomasz Kuszneruk of Pavilion Wine, with team leader Martin Lam commenting on its ‘rounded palate, with good concentration, and a saline element too’.

£9.73 Liberty Wines

Heirloom, Cabernet 2016, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘An aromatic nose of eucalyptus and pine needle, leading to a concentrated palate with coffee and chocolate notes,’ described team leader Laurent Richet MS. Meanwhile Adam Michocki of The Glasshouse called it ‘a polished wine, with a lot of expression’.

£20.42 Heirloom Vineyards

Katnook Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘A leafy nose, with graphite and blackcurrant notes,’ began Elena Serban of Hakkasan, who further described ‘savoury, meaty flavours, with a good, elegant structure, and some char and smoke to finish’. ‘A great, layered, complex wine with powdery tannins,’ added Adam Michocki of The Glasshouse.

£17.86 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Deakin Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Victoria, Australia

Silver medal winner

‘With its eucalyptus and bramble fruit notes, this is a well-made wine, at a good price point,’ said Michael Fiducia of The Royal Automobile Club, while Daniel Jonberger of Rockliffe Hall described ‘toasty aromas, and some plums too, with big blackberry and vanilla notes on the palate’.

£7.32 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Lake Breeze, Arthur's Reserve 2013, South Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

Daniel Jonberger of Rockliffe Hall found a combination of ‘matchsticks and plums on the nose, with a complex palate of raspberries, red cherries, oak and spice’. ‘Young but drinkable now, with a long future ahead of it too,’ added team leader Martin Lam.

£28.62 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Hardys, HRB, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Multi-Regional, Australia

Silver medal winner

Michael Fiducia of The Royal Automobile Club found a combination of ‘eucalyptus and creamy, dark stone fruits, leading to a structured palate with some herbaceousness, as well as some savoury notes’, while Rockliffe Hall’s Daniel Jonberger noted ‘dark fruit and cedar, with some lingering spice’.

£18.40 Matthew Clark

Woodlands, Wilyabrup Valley, Cabernet/Merlot 2015, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Black fruit is joined by char, tobacco and coffee notes, as well as some pine aromas to add complexity and freshness,’ said Elena Serban of Hakkasan.

£12.95 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Aberdeen Wine Company, Angus The Bull, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Victoria, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Archetypal Australian Cabernet,’ said team leader Martin Lam, who described ‘a fresh wine, with eucalyptus, and a bit of mint too’.

£8.00 Wine Importers

RedHeads, Whip-Hand 2016, Barossa, South Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Meaty, with some subtle coconut and earthy notes, as well as some bay leaf and mint notes, leading to macerated red and black fruit and some white pepper on the palate,’ said Woodhead 17’s James Fryer.

£18.56 Direct Wines Production

Lake Breeze, Bull Ant, Cabernet/Merlot 2016, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Madfish, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2016, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£11.95 Enotria&Coe

Dandelion Vineyards, Damsel of the Barossa, Merlot 2017, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Zonte's Footstep, Blackberry Patch, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Growers Wine Group, Growers Gate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, South Eastern Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Fraser Gallop, Parterre, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£18.40 Bibendum

Berton Vineyard, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

Howard Park, Miamup, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£16.75 Enotria&Coe

Rob Dolan, White Label, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Commended medal winner

£16.75 Rob Dolan Wines

Robert Oatley, Pennant, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Frankland River, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£25.31 Hatch Mansfield

 

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