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

Winner Details

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

2019  Gold 2      Silver  5      Bronze  3     Commended  10
2018  Gold 3      Silver  10    Bronze  1     Commended  7

Back in 2017 we were heralding South Africa as the New World’s most exciting producer of Bordeaux varieties. Then, it had more than 20 medals, four of them Gold, and a string of good wines from cheap to expensive.

Since then, the medal count has been in steady (and somewhat puzzling) decline: just 14 medals last year (three of them Gold) down to the 10 (two of them Gold) that you see here for 2019.

Moreover, our tasters were split. Some detected a definitive Cape style and liked it, seeing it as a good Bordeaux substitute; others found nothing beyond ripe fruit and oak and mused that the real interest in South Africa is probably happening in other wine styles.

Confusingly, both points are accurate, so read the tasting notes, call in the samples and make your own mind up…

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Stellenbosch is an area that builds on classic, ripe, full-bodied wines. Just under £20 they showed well, but none were bravely made red wines that venture out into terroir; they lean on new oak, ripeness of fruit.’ Jan Konetzki, team leader

‘Tight, spicy, smoky, meaty.’ Olivier Gasselin, Hakkasan

‘We saw the good characteristics of Stellenbosch here, where there’s always this meaty, savoury character, with a lot of dark fruit, but still some nice acidity. You can actually tell they’re from South Africa – you wouldn’t mix them up with Australia or Chile.’ Ieva Markaityte, Portuguese Concepts

‘I’m not sure whether Cab Sauv is where it’s at in terms of what’s exciting in South Africa. A little bit predictable.’ Charlie Young, team leader

‘The entry-level styles did stand out – juicy, big fruit, uncomplicated, more leathery and gamey at the top end. If I had a chef really involved in game these wines would be very well received by customers.’ Sean Arthur, Cliveden House

‘This shows what they can do in South Africa if they get their location right. They weren’t overripe or overworked. Some thought had gone into the wines, and into their sites, too. There was one Cabernet Franc that if you didn’t know it was from South Africa, you’d think it was Bordeaux.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

Award winners

Found 20 wines

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

MAN Family Wines, Ou Kalant, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Western Cape, South Africa

Gold medal winner

This ‘fruity and easy-to-drink’ Gold winner had, according to team leader Charlie Young, ‘leafy, spicy, black fruit aromas, with soft and sweet fruit on the palate’. ‘Classic crunchy red berries, with a hint of smokiness, leading to a light, juicy palate,’ added an impressed Tanguy Martin of New Street Warehouse, while team leader Tom Forrest concluded that it was ‘warm and perfumed, and with some good freshness, too’.

£7.20 Enotria&Coe

Kleine Zalze, Family Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

‘A beautiful expression of Stellenbosch,’ praised Ieva Markaityte of Portuguese Concepts as this was awarded a well-deserved Gold, further describing ‘black fruit and blueberries, with some floral notes of lilies, and some good balance’. Team leader Tom Forrest spoke of ‘an earthiness, with soft tannins and cedar spice’, while Hakkasan’s Olivier Gasselin found it ‘big and concentrated, with a leafy, spicy aroma and a juicy palate, with tight, grippy tannins’.

£20.12 Hatch Mansfield

Morgenster, Estate Red 2003, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Flat Three Restaurant’s Heesoo Kang liked the combination of ‘fresh and dried fruit, as well as herbs and spice’ on the nose, which led to a palate that was ‘full bodied, with chocolate, prune and date notes’.

£27.50 Enotria&Coe

Buitenverwachting, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2016, Constantia, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘A typical South African nose,’ thought Terry Kandylis of 67 Pall Mall, who described ‘loads of black fruit and spice, together with notes of leather and smoke, and crunchy fruit on the palate’, before concluding that it ‘delivers for the price’.

£7.45 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Journey's End, Single Vineyard, Merlot 2016, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

This opened with ‘a lovely botanical, herbal note’, according to Heesoo Kang of Flat Three Restaurant, who went on to describe ‘dried rose petal, both fresh and dried cherries, plums and strawberries, along with a peppery note’.

£14.03 Bibendum

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

Silver medal winner

‘Good fruit combined with a touch of toast and vanilla’ characterised the nose here for Flat Three Restaurant’s Heesoo Kang, who described a palate with ‘generous, fresh dark cherries and plums, along with some liquorice spice, and overall good balance’.

£14.02 Bibendum

Elgin Vintners, Merlot 2015, Elgin, South Africa

Silver medal winner

For Cliveden House’s Sean Arthur this was ‘a really gamey, smoky and leathery wine that’s very ripe on the palate, but exceptionally well balanced’, while 67 Pall Mall’s Terry Kandylis described ‘good length, with soft tannins and a touch of sous-bois’.

£12.80 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Normandie Est 1693, Anno 1693 2014, Franschhoek, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘A slightly oxidative style,’ thought Cliveden House’s Sean Arthur, who found ‘raisins and cooked fruits, very well integrated, with a long, pleasant finish’.

£18.00 Wine Source UK

Journey's End, The Pastor's Blend 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Elegant and juicy, with some bell pepper and tomato leaf,’ began Hakkasan’s Olivier Gasselin, further describing this as ‘crunchy, with grippy tannins and a savoury element’.

£10.46 Bibendum

De Trafford, Elevation 393 2011, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Fresh blueberries, plums and cherries, with a full-bodied structure and silky texture, and some menthol notes too,’ thought Heesoo Kang of Flat Three Restaurant.

£41.80 Bibendum

Morgenster, Lourens River Valley Red 2003, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£14.85 Enotria&Coe

Thelema, Sutherland, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£11.87 Enotria&Coe

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

Commended medal winner

£20.61 Bibendum

Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£10.04 Hatch Mansfield

Kleine Zalze, Cellar Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Coastal Region, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Asara, Vineyard Collection, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Boschendal Elgin Merlot 2015, Elgin, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£22.65 DGB Europe Ltd

Steenberg, Merlot 2015, Constantia, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£14.08 Bibendum

Journey's End, The Cape Doctor, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£19.10 Bibendum

Tokara, Director's Reserve, Red 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

 

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