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Home Winners > Winners 2020 > Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends - USA

Winner Details

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux-Style Blends - USA

Last year we saw a deluge of medals from the US (a ‘Cabalanche’, perhaps?), but this year we were back to normal with a decent rather than noteworthy performance.

Our tasters found plenty to enjoy here, with lashings of fruit, oak, tannin and alcohol. Admittedly, they were, for the most part, about as subtle as a Jim Carrey film, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a place for them – and our tasters were largely accepting of the glossy style.

The big controversy, in fact, was less style than price. Some liked the upmarket wines with ‘£100+ on a list’ price tags, others thought the cheaper wines would do a turn in a steak house. It was very varied feedback – and probably depends on your clientele as much as anything.

What definitely is worth keeping an eye on is the growing presence of Washington State here – it’s starting to build up a nice little niche for itself.

From The Tasting Teams

‘One or two stood out here, with these menthol, eucalyptus flavours that were quite pleasant. Below £10 there wasn’t much worth listing though.’ Immacolata Cannavo, Hakkasan Mayfair

‘This is what you’d expect. Traditional Californian ripe jammy fruit, but we weren’t seeing the contrasting styles of bright, linear and more delicate wines. That doesn’t mean they were bad though. There were some gems and some good value.’ Andres Ituarte, team leader

‘There were really good options at the cheaper end. You could see how it could work by the glass in some venues, but the top end – above £30 – let us down.’ Joshua Castle, Noble Rot

‘There’s good value here. I’d see these in any steak house, or any decent wine list. They’re good wines, and not complicated. But they’re food friendly for people that like big rich wines.’ Diego Carballido, Bar Boulud – Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

‘The non-Californian wines all very different. All had that plumminess, though some were more herbaceous than others.’ Michael Fiducia, Royal Automobile Club

‘There was really good strength and depth and really good concentration of flavour in the non-Californian flight. I was expecting some overpowered fruit and a lot of overly full-bodied styles, but they were more restrained than I thought they would be, and with a good spread of prices.’ Christopher Cooper, Drinkonomics

‘What you’d expect: quality fruit, good alcohol levels and tannins.’ Juan Manuel Marcos Perez, The Gilbert Scott Restaurant

Award winners

Found 20 wines

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

St Supéry, Élu 2015, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

'Hedonistic and delicious, this is super-herbaceous, with lots of pepper and spice, and dense black fruits with loads of oak, all woven together seamlessly.' Andres Ituarte, team leader. 'This has pronounced flavours of ripe black fruit, cassis and berries, but is perfumed too, with some sweet spices. Great concentration and a long finish.' Savvas Symeonidis, Goodman Restaurant Mayfair.

£51.40 Jeroboams

Precision Wine Co, The Introvert, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, California, USA

Gold medal winner

'A soft, elegant, easy-drinking style of wine, with floral violet notes accompanying some mint and plush jammy red fruits. There is definitely a place for this.' Andres Ituarte, team leader. 'With aromas of red berries and tar on the nose, as well as a meaty note, and a palate that's showing good acidity and fruit, I see this working well in a gastropub.' Filippo Pastorini, consultant.

£12.89 Top Selection

Duckhorn, Merlot 2016, Napa Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

'This is elegant while being massive too, with wet stone combined with really lovely, dense, dark fruit, and a silky mouthfeel, with lots of spice and vanilla, and oak well integrated.' Andres Ituarte, team leader. 'Jammy black fruit, with some wild blueberries too, and a full-bodied palate with black peppercorns and lavender notes.' Juan Manuel Marcos Perez, The Gilbert Scott Restaurant.

£35.55 Top Selection

Charles Smith, Velvet Devil, Merlot 2017, Washington State, USA

Silver medal winner

'Polished and fine, this opens with rich ripe cassis and boysenberry, alongside some sandalwood, cedar, vanilla and smoke. There's dense concentration in the mouth, with smoky oak wafting throughout, and with a light sprinkle of spice and graphite. Very flavoursome.' Angela Reddin, team leader.

£12.49 Bibendum

Laurel Glen, Counterpoint, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, California, USA

Silver medal winner

'Warm spices and pencil shavings meet some minty notes and a medicinal element too - this is soft and easy-drinking, with some additional black pepper and blackcurrant jam.' Tom Forrest, team leader. 'Some violet notes joining some fruit and liquorice - this is well-made with good structure.' Nuno Pereira, Theo Randall at the InterContinental Hotel.

£37.34 Top Selection

Double Canyon, Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Washington State, USA

Silver medal winner

'Classy, with a real waft of ripe blackberries, blackcurrants and cedar, before some framboise scent kicks in, along with sandalwood and warm spice. A beautiful mouthfeel, with a lingering, soft finish.' Angela Reddin, team leader. 'Deep, intense and concentrated, with lots of fruit, some sweet oak spice and tobacco, with a silky texture in the palate.' Matteo Furlan, The Ritz London.

£19.20 Wanderlust Wines

Canvasback, Red Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Washington State, USA

Silver medal winner

'This has quite a savoury nose with great poise, before the power is turned on, with the palate opening into layers of concentrated character, with structure and flavour.' Michael Fiducia, Royal Automobile Club. 'With luscious, soft and full ripeness, there's lots of life left here, with a little vanilla and oak in the background.' Sue Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn.

£28.66 Top Selection

Monterey Bay, Merlot 2016, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

'Opening with a fresh nose of blackberries, red flowers and tobacco, the palate is very fresh, with a juicy, red fruit finish. A good option for gastropubs.' Filippo Pastorini, consultant. 'Notes of black fruit and sweet spice, with some chocolate and coffee too.' Charlie Young, team leader.

£6.15 LWC Drinks

Dry Creek, Hillside Vinyards, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Sonoma County, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

'A serious and ambitious style, with cassis, capsicum and black cherry on the nose and palate, with vanilla spice adding to the smoky, dry finish.' Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. 'Velvety and silky, with some high acidity and good extraction, along with some grippy tannins, giving this ageing potential.' Immacolata Cannavo, Hakkasan Mayfair.

£20.11 Bibendum Wine

St Supéry, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa Valley, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

'This is all about the sweet spices, with some tobacco and smoke too, accompanied by powerful fruit and pronounced flavour intensity, with velvety tannins, acidity and alcohol all well-integrated, and leading to a long, savoury and leathery finish.' Savvas Symeonidis, Goodman Restaurant Mayfair.

£29.85 Jeroboams

Château Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Washington State, USA

Bronze medal winner

'A really expressive nose, with harmonious savoury cedar notes alongside rich cassis and spiced plum. This is very elegant for its price point.' Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards. 'Wonderfully, silky smooth, with opulent dark fruits and hints of mocha.' Michael Fiducia, Royal Automobile Club.

£13.01 Enotria&Coe

Goldstone, Drifting, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Lodi, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

'A decadent wine with sweet morello fruit and generous, fragrant cassis notes, leading to a concentrated palate with moderate sweet cedarwood and smoke on the finish.' Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. 'With its well-balanced aromas of juicy fruit and spice, this is very good value.' Lukas Nikanorovas, 20 Stories.

£9.35 Matthew Clark

Goldstone, Drifting, Merlot 2016, Lodi, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

'There's crisp acidity to balance the ripe black fruit here, with well-integrated alcohol and some spice, with a touch of cloves and vanilla. Good concentration too.' Savvas Symeonidis, Goodman Restaurant Mayfair. 'A fantastic wine, and a real crowd-pleaser, with spices and chocolate - this is ripe yet fresh.' Diego Carballido, Bar Boulud - Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.

£9.35 Matthew Clark

Whispering Hills, Merlot 2018, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£6.26 Matthew Clark

Truchard, Merlot 2013, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£20.11 Bibendum

Cannonball, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£13.44 Enotria&Coe

Stag's Leap, Hands of Time, Red Blend 2014, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£26.42 Enotria&Coe

Murphy-Goode, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£14.92 Matthew Clark

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

Commended medal winner

£7.10 Boutinot

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

Commended medal winner

£17.06 Bibendum

 

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