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Winner Details

Cabernet Franc

Of all the red categories that we’d like to see grow into being A Thing, Cabernet Franc is probably the one. And it’s getting there. Admittedly, progress isn’t exactly break-neck, but it’s inching along to a position of solidity – we just need a few more wines to come in.

That said, the plus side of not being swamped with Cab Francs seems to be that those that are coming in are generally pretty well made. The entries to medals ratio was not bad at all for what is still something of a neophyte grape variety for the New World, and our tasters liked that the varietal typicity of the grape was being retained. That combination of ‘ripe fruit plus herbal edge’ is great for food-matching.

On this evidence, most of the interest is in Chile and Argentina, but Stratus in Canada is clearly onto something good (Gold last year, Silver this) while an extra year of bottle age on Rietvallei’s JMB lifted it from Bronze in 2019 to a place on the Gold List in 2020.

From The Tasting Teams

‘Some really good wines at different price points, mostly from Argentina and Chile. They all drank well, with good value at all price points, even at the lower end by the glass. At the top end they were meat wines, which needed a bit of food. Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards

‘The three at the top end were my favourite here, where you could see the evolution. This is a great variety to have with food, not necessarily by the glass. They’re wines that show bitterness, and herbal characteristics, along with structure and depth of flavours.’ Elena Serban, Heritage Restaurant

‘Most winemakers here had tried to make sure the wine actually tasted like Cabernet Franc – the overall typicity of the grape was kept. And as they went higher in price, there was more concentration, but not the loss of that varietal aspect. I think New World Cabernet Franc is a good idea, but should be kept to cooler climates.’ Laurent Richet MS, team leader

‘These are fantastic wines to have with steak and aged meats. Prices were getting a bit high at the top end, but I think I could justify those.’ Elena Serban, Heritage Restaurant

Award winners

Found 11 wines

New World: Cabernet Franc

Casarena, Single Vineyard, Cabernet Franc 2011, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

'An incredibly rich style that ticks all the boxes for many people, with decadent dark fruits on the nose alongside really pungent vanilla and cedar spice notes, and a rich palate and mouthfeel.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards. 'With leafy tertiary character, iodine and red earth, as well as black pepper and cooked capsicum, this is a really interesting wine for the price point.' James Fryer, team leader.

£13.32 Frederic Robinson

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

Gold medal winner

'This really speaks of where it's from, with a hint of smoke and a dark fruit profile of dates, plums and cherries on the nose, before tannin structure and balanced acidity, with mint, cinnamon, clove, smoked ham, burnt rosemary and black olive notes.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader. 'This is calling out for a rich cut of steak and barbecued meats.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards.

£22.75 Anthony Byrne Fine Wines

Zuccardi, Apelación, Cabernet Franc 2017, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

'A super-approachable wine with freshness balanced against some ripe tannin. This is minty, with black fruit and black pepper on the nose, and more juicy black fruit with subtle green pepper notes on the palate. This would make a great barbecue wine, and would suit gastro pub lists too.' James Fryer, team leader.

£10.31 Hatch Mansfield

Stratus, Cabernet Franc 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Canada

Silver medal winner

'An outstanding wine with a juicy flavour of freshly cut fruit - mostly black cherries - with some cocoa beans too.' Elena Serban, Heritage Restaurant. 'A real statement wine, with super-plush tannins and big ripe fruit, and some polished black and purple fruits alongside some big, expensive oak.' James Fryer, team leader.

£23.76 Bibendum

Alpasión, Grand Cabernet Franc 2016, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

'A fun, full-bodied wine with great use of oak to balance the juicy dark fruits, and notes of cassis, plums, black cherries, bell pepper, cold coffee and dark chocolate.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader. 'A juicy, powerful red wine with blackcurrant and cola notes on the nose, and stewed fruits with ripe tannins on the palate.' Sara Rossi, Trinity Restaurant.

£16.10 Matthew Clark

Andeluna, Pasionado, Cabernet Franc 2016, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

'Intensity in an understatement here, yet it's harmonious, keeping balance and integrity to the grape. This has notes of ripe plum and date fruits with vanilla and chocolate, with more chocolate on the palate joined by coffee, bell pepper, clove and vanilla. This needs lamb shoulder.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader.

£31.35 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

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

Bronze medal winner

'Blackcurrant, cassis, savoury leather and tomato leaves lead to dry, fine tannins and good length - this hits the balance of tannin and freshness.' Jan Konetzki, team leader. 'The oak balances the ripe fruit here, but it's not overly done, with tannins balanced with fruit and acidity, and notes of cassis, plum, prune, vanilla, coffee and chocolate.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader.

£19.71 Bibendum

Santa Rita, Gran Hacienda, Cabernet Franc 2016, Central Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

'There's good complexity for the price here, with bramble fruit, prune and smoke, and some good persistence.' Elena Serban, Heritage Restaurant. 'Juicy cherry and redcurrant fruit alongside some classic Cabernet Franc herbal characteristics, with flavours well integrated, and with some great freshness. An interesting by-the-glass option for many casual eateries.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards.

£7.79 Bibendum

Salentein, Numina, Cabernet Franc 2016, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£20.68 Matthew Clark

Undurraga, Terroir Hunter, Cabernet Franc 2015, Maipo Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Catena Zapata, Appellation, San Carlos, Cabernet Franc 2016, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£12.42 Bibendum