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Winner Details

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux-Style Blends - South Africa

South Africa’s influence in this part of the competition has fallen dramatically over the past few years. Perhaps the harsh economics of the Cape are to blame, perhaps its drought, but what’s sure is that we’re not getting the entries or the silverware that we used to.

As recently as 2017 the Saffers managed 21 medals here, so five this year was a rather sorry effort.

That said, with no Bronze medals, but three Golds – including a Critics’ Choice – it looks like when they do get it right they REALLY get it right. You just have to like that very specific Cape style. And not all our tasters did.

From The Tasting Teams

‘A bad flight. Too green, too bitter, and trying to overcompensate with oak. The precision winemaking was not there at all.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry and Guards Club

‘Very disappointing wines: expensive, underripe, unbalanced. I think the winemakers were worried about losing acidity so they picked early. But the grapes were not ripe so the wines were unbalanced and too grippy.’ Guillaume Mahaut, ETM Group

‘This flight had wines at different prices but not different qualities. The best wines were the ones at entry level, actually. It wasn’t convincing. There were green tannins and unbalanced, high acidities.’ Markus Dilger, Dilger Sommelier Selection

‘Too alcoholic, too warm and too tannic. If I want to put a Cab Sauvignon on my list I would stick with Italy or France.’ Chiara Sieni, MM Grocery

‘You know it’s South Africa. A good combination between a vegetal and fruit character. Over the years, these are becoming more well-made.’ Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche

‘I wanted more typicity and more elegance, but the only other characteristic was this green character that is not nice by itself.’ Filippo Pastorini, consultant

Award winners

Found 8 wines

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

Journey's End, Single Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

'Great aromatics, with some hedonistic fruit on the perfumed nose and a bit of truffle and sandalwood too, leading to summer fruits like raspberries on the palate, and a great finish, with excellent, firm tannins.' Michael Driscoll, Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa. 'Deep, dark and brooding, with a weighty palate of dark fruit and a big dollop of cream.' Michael Fiducia, Royal Automobile Club.

£14.15 Bibendum

Morgenster, Lourens River Valley, Red 2010, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

'Robust in style, with complex cassis and forest floor aromas, along with an intense fruit profile of cooked blackberries and pungent spice, and delicate juniper and eucalyptus. Some dense tannins, with a fine grip towards the long finish.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London. 'This has a sense of a place, with peppermint, oak spices and concentrated black fruits.' Elena Serban, Heritage Restaurant.

£16.03 Enotria&Coe

MAN Family Wines, Ou Kalant, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Western Cape, South Africa

Gold medal winner

'With fresh fruit and a slightly oakiness, this is elegant, and good value for money too.' Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche. 'This has a black fruit and intense floral character, with robust tannins and an earthy finish.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London. 'Dark fruit cordial notes and a dry palate with good fruit and high acidity make this a good pub wine.' Lionel Periner, team leader.

£7.81 Enotria&Coe

Tokara, Director's Reserve, Red 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

'This has a concentrated, aromatic structure that's almost inky, with cooked blackberries and black plums, as well as some cinnamon spice and black cardamom, accompanied by some robust tannins. A well-balanced wine with a long, earthy finish.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London.

£28.19 London Wine Shippers

Rietvallei Wine Estate, Estéanna, Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot 2016, Robertson, South Africa

Silver medal winner

'This opens with a big fruit nose, with some tertiary forest floor and autumnal characters showing prominently, alongside some old spice and vanilla aromas, all leading to a dry, fruit-forward palate with lots of cinnamon, blackcurrant and raspberry fruit, all very ripe.' Michael Driscoll, Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa.

£20.15 Anthony Byrne Fine Wines

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

Commended medal winner

£10.04 Hatch Mansfield

Flagstone, The Music Room, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£14.99 Matthew Clark

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

Commended medal winner

£20.72 Bibendum