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

Winner Details

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

2019  Gold  6     Silver 10    Bronze 3      Commended  6
2018  Gold  3     Silver 8      Bronze 1      Commended  5

You don’t, on this evidence, go to the US if you’re on a bit of a budget; we had only two medal-winners under £10 (well done Kautz and Boutinot). But it’s indisputably a good place to come if you’re after high quality, big fruit and a bit of blingy oak. And increasingly our tasters are happy to recognise that. Where they might have turned their noses up at this style of wines in the past, now they can see a use for them and are happy to reward the best specimens.

The result? A category that’s on a roll. In 2016, the US managed only half a dozen medals, this year it was more than three times that. No surprise that most of the medals are from California, nor that those from Napa are right at the top end of wines submitted for the competition.

But what was a thoroughly pleasant surprise was the growth of wines sent in from Washington. With plenty of sun but lower temperatures and colder nights, its style is distinctively different, and one that our tasters seemed to like a lot. We’ll surely see more from here going forward.

Oh, and well done to Trefethen, whose Cabernet Gold last year was followed by a top award for its Merlot this year.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There weren’t any exciting wines below about £16 or £20, but when you spend the money you find the quality here. These are definitely food wines, for charcoal grill or barbecue.’ Alan Bednarski, Texture

‘Even at the lower end, I think California shows good value for money, with fruit-driven, full-bodied, rich wines, and I think these were a revelation. They were big and bold wines, fruit-driven and showing complexity, displaying some big winemaking skills.’ Matteo Cali, Savoy Grill

‘The flight from outside California was much better than the Californians in price, and more approachable for the customer. Balanced, too – more fruity and fresh.’ Carlos Ferreira, team leader

‘Across the flight these were very good, from the entry level ticking all the boxes and showing typicity, and going up in price with better oak management, where the wines were richer, with layers of complexity. They needed to slow down on the residual sugar and the oak, and we were seeing that here.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

‘In terms of price, it’s true that they can’t compete against Italian reds maybe, or Chilean and Argentinian wines, but the quality versus value for money put these in my top three favourites.’ Roberto Sanchez, Sexy Fish

‘In a sense, they were quite old-fashioned wines, but were very well made. These kinds of wine are actually very useful on a wine list. At the highest prices they were a bit expensive, but they were showing development and readiness to drink.’ Raphael Thierry, Street XO

‘The non-Californian wines were a great flight. Some very light, forward, blueberry-flavoured styles to richer, more challenging styles.’ Jim Bass, Scarlet Hotel

 

Award winners

Found 25 wines

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

Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Washington State, USA

Gold medal winner

This Gold Lister was ‘bursting with fruit, and very easy drinking’, according to Jim Bass of Scarlet Hotel, clearly impressed, while Woodhead 17’s James Fryer added praise for its ‘pure, sweet blueberry juice, with some decent acidity, too’. Team leader Martin Lam found plenty of ‘cherry fruit at first, but then savoury, and softening on the finish’, while Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn spoke of ‘light toast and vanilla, with some subtle blackcurrant leaf, and some lasting texture’.

£12.05 Enotria&Coe

Silverado, Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

For Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group this inevitable addition to the Gold List was ‘very floral, with an intense violet bouquet, along with wild berry and forest fruits – an elegant wine, with a long finish’. The Cross Kenilworth, Simpsons & Edgbaston’s Giuseppe Longobardi, meanwhile, appreciated notes of ‘cherry, pencil and tar on the nose, leading to a fruity palate with a smoky finish’, adding that its ‘tannins need rich flavours and meat dishes’.

£30.00 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Bonterra, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, California, USA

Gold medal winner

‘Like walking along an autumn hedgerow, with blackcurrants and blackberries on the nose,’ mused Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine on encountering this impressive Gold winner, also finding ‘complexity on the palate, with charred nuts, coffee, pecan and blueberry pie’. Team leader Jade Koch described it as ‘smoky and lean, with a buttery finish that’s fine, long and savoury’, which all made it an excellent match for ‘either venison or duck breast’.

£16.38 Enotria&Coe

Black Stallion, Limited Release, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

‘Sumptuous aromatics of rose, cherry and French oak,’ began team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW as this was awarded a well-deserved Gold, going on to describe ‘a dark palate that’s savoury and balanced, with freshness, too’. House of Sake’s Honami Matsumoto appreciated ‘ripe, sweet damson fruit, with blackcurrant and some sweet spice’, while ‘cassis and intense black cherry, with a full-bodied palate of coffee and bitter chocolate’ made this, for consultant Anja Breit, a good choice for ‘chargrilled meat’.

£61.92 Bancroft Wines

Trefethen, Merlot 2016, California, USA

Gold medal winner

Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW singled out this Gold Lister as ‘very aromatic, with generous raspberry and plum fruit, leading to a ripe and fleshy palate, although really well balanced’, while House of Sake’s Honami Matsumoto described it as ‘structured but elegant’. Matteo Cali of Savoy Grill, meanwhile, appreciated its ‘pronounced aromas of plum, cassis and blackberries, with secondary notes of vanilla and liquorice’, adding that its ‘rich and opulent palate would go well with a rib eye’.

£19.13 Daniel Lambert Wines

Charles Smith, Chateau Smith, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Washington State, USA

Gold medal winner

As this Cabernet Sauvignon was elevated to Gold, team leader Martin Lam described it as ‘bright, with a sappy nose, and very well balanced’, while fellow team leader Carlos Ferreira found it to be ‘dry and big, with some spicy character that’s very well balanced by fruit’. For Scarlet Hotel’s Jim Bass, ‘green peppers and black fruit, as well as some real freshness’ made this wine ‘perfect for grilled meats and barbecues’.

£16.35 Bibendum

Chateau Ste Michelle, Indian Wells, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Washington State, USA

Silver medal winner

For team leader Carlos Ferreira, this opened with ‘lots of almonds, pine and leather, as well as some black fruit, and a grassiness too, leading to a palate that’s very well balanced, and with a long finish’.

£14.92 Enotria&Coe

Chateau Ste Michelle, Motto, Gung Ho, Red Blend 2014, Washington State, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Smoky aromas, as well as some blueberry’ led to ‘a silky, very fruity palate, with nice oak and well-balanced tannins’, according to Clément Loubeyre of The Cross Kenilworth, while James Fryer of Woodhead 17 appreciated ‘stalky fruit, with some dark earthy notes too, as well as blueberry skin and dusty tannins’.

£12.66 Enotria&Coe

Col Solare, Col Solare 2012, Washington State, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Blueberry fruit, mint and black pepper aromas lead to sap, black berries and velvet tannins on the palate, along with some minty leaf notes and black pepper,’ said Woodhead 17’s James Fryer, who thought it ‘still young, but with clear potential’.

£46.28 Enotria&Coe

Louis M. Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Intense, rich and bold,’ began Savoy Grill’s Matteo Cali, who found ‘hints of sweet spices, chocolate and cedar, with big structure and good alcohol integration’, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW described ‘refined cedar aromatics, with vanilla and cherries, and more oak and red fruits on the palate’.

£25.98 Enotria&Coe

Louis M. Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Sonoma County, California, USA

Silver medal winner

On the nose this had ‘cassis, plum and some minerality’, according to team leader Angela Reddin, who found it ‘rich and ripe on the palate, with good structure and balance of acidity. A good, friendly style.’

£14.89 Enotria&Coe

Black Stallion, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘A dark, earthy and gravelly nose, with some black fruit, raspberry and plum coulis’ kicked things off here for team leader Angela Reddin, who further described a ‘creamy mocha palate that’s fruit laden and complex’.

£24.72 Bancroft Wines

Jordan, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Alexander Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘A great wine, with great aromatics, and loads of ripe, dark fruit, as well as mint, humus, leather and vanilla notes,’ began team leader Angela Reddin, who added that this had ‘strong tannins and a cashmere mouthfeel, with a palate that extends wonderfully’.

£45.00 House of Townend

Dry Creek Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Sonoma County, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Roses, red berries and red cherries, as well as some vanilla,’ began Roberto Sanchez of Sexy Fish, who went on to describe ‘a well-balanced palate, with a hint of leather on the finish’. ‘A big wine, but ready to drink,’ concluded Raphael Thierry of Street XO.

£20.86 Bibendum

Boutinot, Showdown, Man with the Ax, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘A ripe nose of wild black and red berries, with some underlying sweet spices, leading to a lush, juicy finish,’ described Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW spoke of a ‘plump, fleshy palate with silky tannins’.

£7.10 Boutinot

Black Stallion, Limited Release, Merlot 2013, Napa Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Real elegance and power,’ thought Harry Ballmann of Wiltons, who described ‘blackberry and cassis on the nose, with some rich spice and dark fruit on the palate – a lustrous and succulent wine’. Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club, meanwhile, appreciated its ‘lush, red and black fruit, complex body and jammy, liquorice finish’.

£42.72 Bancroft Wines

Jordan, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Alexander Valley, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Jade Koch found this to be ‘made to last, with gentle strawberry, deep blackcurrant and eucalyptus notes’, while Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group described notes of ‘graphite and gunpowder, with a juicy, oaky, smoky palate with forest fruit and velvety tannins’.

£45.00 House of Townend

Cannonball, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Cigar box on the nose leads to sweet redcurrant and plum on the palate, with some chocolate and cinnamon, too,’ said Street XO’s Raphael Thierry, who further described a ‘smooth structure and delicate finish’.

£12.45 Enotria&Coe

Kautz Winery, Drifting, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Lodi, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

Raphael Thierry of Street XO described this as having ‘sweet and jammy blackcurrant fruit, with some leather and cedar complexity, juicy tannins and a long, fresh finish’.

£9.12 Matthew Clark

Laurel Glen, Counterpoint, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£37.34 Top Selection

Precision Wines, The Introvert, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£12.89 Top Selection

Chateau Ste Michelle, Cold Creek, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Washington State, USA

Commended medal winner

£24.49 Enotria&Coe

Kautz Winery, Drifting, Merlot 2016, Lodi, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£9.12 Matthew Clark

Joel Gott, 815, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, California, USA

Commended medal winner

Trefethen, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, California, USA

Commended medal winner

 

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