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Winner Details

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux-Style Blends - Chile

Chile had quite a good year in SWA 2020, with the only exception, oddly, being the one category where you’d expect it to do rather well: Bordeaux reds.

Well-priced Cabs and Merlots is, of course, where the country has made its name over the past 30 years, but feedback from the tasters was mixed. Most enjoyed the quality of fruit that they could see in the wines, but there was a consistent criticism that it was being smothered by over-enthusiastic winemaking. Too much oak and too much extraction suggests that quite a few winemakers are following the USA model, which might make sense commercially but isn’t going to win them too many friends in SWA.

Whereas last year we had three Golds under £10, some good mid-price wines and a classy trade-up, this year’s pickings were far thinner on the ground.

Two observations: firstly, Maipo needs to do better. Its reputation as top dog for Cab is rarely demonstrated in SWA. Secondly, where were all the good cheap wines? When even Chile finds it hard to knock out good wines under a tenner we know we’re in trouble.

From The Tasting Teams

‘The best had good fruit concentration balanced with acid. It’s so hot in Chile, so sometimes when they have good fruit it is picked underripe to avoid going too far the other way.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘There was really good ripe fruit, resulting in lovely complex and elegant wines. The £10-£15 mark was really good value for money.’ Daniel Eriksen, Anglian Country Inns

‘That was uninspiring. Quite a few were really disjointed, some were heavily oaked. They were more winemakers’ wines than terroir wines.’ Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade

‘Chile tends to over deliver on fruit concentration, and we saw a really interesting uplift in the middle price bracket, with concentration and typicity. There was that pyrazine, pastille element, but without it being cloying or confected.’ Claire Love, Loves Consultancy

‘Overall, the value for money was there and the quality of fruit was there, but the winemaking was tricky. Some had too much oak and extraction. They didn’t need to try so hard.’ Raphael Thierry, consultant

‘There’s great potential from Chile, especially in Cabernet Sauvignon. I would’ve liked to see more.’ Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London

‘I preferred Colchagua here. I think there was probably better winemaking from Colchagua than Maipo.’ Salvatore Russo, The Hippodrome Casino

‘People don’t want ripe, but they want concentration. Chile tends to be more vibrant. It ticks a lot of boxes, and there’s definitely a place for these.’ Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen

Award winners

Found 18 wines

New World: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Bordeaux Blends: Chile

Mancura, Guardian, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Maule Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

'A wine that's showing good typicity, and is good value for money too.' Raphael Thierry, consultant. 'This has notes of cassis, black cherry, blueberry and green bell pepper, with some black pepper notes, and a touch of wood smoke.' Romain de Courcy, The Ritz Paris. 'Cherry, blackcurrant and dense redcurrant notes - an easy-drinking by-the-glass offer.' Tom Forrest, team leader.

£7.33 Morandé

Perez Cruz, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Maipo Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

'Opening with a cassis-dominant nose, this has a concentrated, ripe and full-bodied oaked palate, leading to a creamy finish.' Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. 'This has rich fruit flavours, with good spice and some zingy acidity, culminating in a liquorice finish.' Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen. 'Spicy, dark and rich, this has a toasty nose and some dark fruit notes.' Dave Cushley, Prestonfield House.

£11.11 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Viña Requingua, Toro de Piedra, Merlot 2018, Curicó Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

'An elegant wine with ripe black fruits to the fore, balanced by good acidity and ripe tannins. Good value.' Daniel Eriksen, Anglian Country Inns. 'This has notes of cassis, blackberry and black cherry, accompanied by notes of oak, smoke and meat.' Romain de Courcy, The Ritz Paris.

£9.52 Condor Wines

Kupal Wines, Tacora, Gran Reserva, Ensamblaje 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

'This has notes of red cherries, strawberries, dried red plums and blackberries, accompanied by red bell pepper and red chilli, as well as some tobacco leaf, leather, earth and coffee grounds.' Romain de Courcy, The Ritz Paris. 'Quite a complex wine, this is showing some developed notes of leather, with notes of exotic wood and spices too.' Olivier Marie, team leader.

£11.00 Jeroboams

Undurraga, Altazor 2015, Maipo Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

'A richly-textured wine that's big and bold, with structured tannins.' Olivier Marie, team leader. 'An elegant blend, with balanced, smooth tannins.' Gary Newborough, The Aristologist. 'Notes of cassis, blueberry, blackberry jam, black cherry and dried plum, with a meaty, earthy notes and some tobacco too.' Romain de Courcy, The Ritz Paris.

£41.34 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Undurraga, Terroir Hunter, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Maule Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

'With fresh, bright bramble fruits with a hint of sweet raspberry, this is very juicy, with some spice towards the finish.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club. 'Black fruit, leather and tobacco notes lead to some juicy fruit and accessible tannins - a pretty tasty wine.' Tim Smith, Winesurfer Consulting.

£14.52 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Valdivieso, Caballo Loco, Sagrada Familia, Grand Cru 2016, Central Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

'There's some eucalyptus, lavender and violet intensity here, with richness on the strong mid-palate, and an earthy, dark chocolate note too.' Martin Lam, team leader. 'Together with blackberries and blueberries, there's a herbaceous nose of pine trees, with good balance of fruits on the palate, with more pine too.' Luma Monteiro, Wineria.

£20.67 Bibendum

VSPT Wine Group, Sideral 2018, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

'An elegant wine with a big, open, sweetly fragrant black fruit nose, and a little touch of leafy greenness.' Dave Cushley, Prestonfield House. 'This has a light body with soft ripe berries and currants, culminating in a fresh finish with notes of black raspberries.' Tom Forrest, team leader.

£16.65 Enotria&Coe

Survalles , Patria Nueva, Reserva Especial, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Curicó Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Some ripe red fruits with signs of development showing, as well as mint and red bell pepper notes.' Tim Smith, Winesurfer Consulting. 'With its lifted red fruits, this is a good, balanced wine, with no pretensions. It would work well in many settings, from pub restaurants to more elevated, white-tablecloth joints.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London.

£7.24 Condor Wines

Via Wines, Chilcas, Red One Blend 2016, Maule Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Luscious ripe red berries, plums and cherries, with good oak integration and some ripe tannins, all leading to a silky-smooth finish with good complexity.' Daniel Eriksen, Anglian Country Inns. 'There's a burst of sweet spice like vanilla and cardamom on the front palate, as well as some intense and juicy cherries, with ripe tannins.' Martin Lam, team leader.

£12.97 Viña San Rafael S.A

Vistamar, Sepia Reserva, Merlot 2018, Maipo Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

'This has a nice robust nose with lots of spice and juicy red fruit - great for a house wine.' Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen. 'Such a well-priced wine, with easy red fruits and some balsamic flavours too.' Tim Smith, Winesurfer Consulting. 'A light, easy-drinking style, this is simple and well made.' Olivier Marie, team leader.

£5.10 The Whalley Wine Shop

Luis Felipe Edwards, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

'A well-constructed blend, with tannins quite prominent, alongside some black fruit and cracked black pepper.' Gary Newborough, The Aristologist. 'This has notes of red and black cherries, red plums, blackberries and white pepper.' Romain de Courcy, The Ritz Paris. 'Sweet juicy fruit leading to a smooth, dark and rich palate.' Dave Cushley, Prestonfield House.

£9.03 Matthew Clark

Morandé , Pionero, Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Maule Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Morandé , Pionero, Merlot 2019, Maule Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Viña Requingua , Toro de Piedra, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£12.99 Condor Wines

Chocalan, Reserva, Merlot 2018, Maipo Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Siegel , Single Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Siegel , Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner