Cabernet Sauvignon Asia Masters: The Results
The gap in quality between a Master medal-winning wine and one that is awarded Gold can be very narrow – but in this year’s Cabernet Sauvignon Asia competition four entrants had that extra something special to snatch the top prize, says Alice Liang.
This year’s Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2022, which took place in Hong Kong, saw a panel of four expert judges blind-taste more than 20 Cabernet Sauvignons.
The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters brought together entries of single varietal wines and blends which include at least 50% of the grape from countries such as Australia, Argentina, Chile and China. The panel explored in depth the different possibilities that the variety can offer.
In this edition, four Master winners were selected, the results showing the diversity of the wines on offer, each boasting thrilling qualities that grabbed the panel’s attention.
Out of the four masters, three were made by Australian producer Wakefield Taylors Family Wines. Sitting at different price ranges and wine styles, the results proved the consistent outstanding quality of Cabernet produced by the winery.
Priced below HK$300, Masterstroke Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 showed “pronounced aroma, and great acidity with smooth tannins. This wine showed exceptional value for its price”, according to Johnathan Leung – fine wine specialist at Hong Kong’s Ginsberg + Chan.
In the same price range, the Australian producer bagged another Master medal with its aptly-named Masterstroke Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2018. The winning blend showcased “firm tannins with supportive acid, the wine is filled with notes of cocoa bean and coffee, and it has great aging potential too”, said Reeze Choi, founder of Hong Kong wine consultancy Somm’s Philosophy.
Last but not least, Taylors’ The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, a wine priced between HK$800 and HK$850, illustrated a good example of premium Cabernet Sauvignon. Vincent Chue, beverage manager and sommelier at Hong Kong restaurant Quiero Más, was impressed by “the deep concentration of dark fruits, floral notes, dry herbs and spices”, and he noted the wine has a long-lasting aftertaste. Besides the Masters it scooped, the winery also received an additional four Gold medals.
Elsewhere, hailing from Mendoza, Argentina, Salentein Primus Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 was a surprising Master winner for the panel. It shows that Mendoza is not only a powerhouse for Malbec, but also has enormous potential for Cabernet production. Choi was immediately caught up in the wine’s complex nose, filled with dried fruit. He said: “With its solid tannins and great acidity, I can feel the long aging potential of this wine.”
De Bortoli is another Australian producer that shone in the competition. The panel raved about the amazing value found in the winery’s entry-level wines. Bearing a price tag of less than HK$100, both De Bortoli Deen Vat 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and De Bortoli Woodfired Heathcote Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 were awarded Gold medals in the competition. The wines showed a perfectly balanced and complex profile. “Approachable, easy to drink yet very well made. It’s much more challenging to discover great wines at this price range,” Chue said.
Moving up the price scale, its De Bortoli Melba Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, at HK$765, also earned a Gold medal. Leung said: “The wine is faithful to its price and delivered good performances on the aroma, tannins and balance.”
As one of the most exciting New World regions on the wine map, China was also represented with Dynasty Premier Royal Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008 awarded a Silver medal in the competition. Chue was captivated by this wine’s “elegance, accompanied by tertiary notes such as tea leaves and mushroom”. According to Chue, the wine is ready to drink now, but still shows aging potential for another two to three years at least.
Often described as the Bordeaux of South America, Chile’s Maipo Valley is best known for producing fruity and rich Cabernet Sauvignon. Even though Silver medal winner CasaViva Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 was priced at less than HK$200, the panel enjoyed the pleasing and straightforward profile infused with oak, spices and dark fruit.
See below for the full list of medal-winning wines:
|Oaked – 100%|
|Below HKD 100|
|De Bortoli Wines||De Bortoli Winemakers Selection Cabernet Sauvignon||Langhorne Creek||Australia||2021||Silver|
|De Bortoli Wines||De Bortoli Deen Vat 9 Cabernet Sauvignon||Heathcote & Yarra Valley||Australia||2017||Gold|
|De Bortoli Wines||De Bortoli Woodfired Heathcote Cabernet Sauvignon||Heathcote||Australia||2019||Gold|
|HKD 100 – 150|
|Casa Viva||CASA VIVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVA||Rapel Valley||Chile||2019||Bronze|
|Taylor Family Estate||Reserve Parcel Cabernet Sauvignon||Limestone Coast/Clare Valley||Australia||2020||Silver|
|Taylor Family Estate||Wakefield Taylors Family Cabernet Sauvignon||Limestone Coast/Clare Valley||Australia||2020||Gold|
|HKD 151 – 200|
|Casa Viva||CASA VIVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON GRAN RESERVA||Maipo Valley||Chile||2019||Silver|
|HKD 201 – 300|
|Taylor Family Estate||Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon||Clare Valley/Coonawarra||Australia||2019||Gold|
|De Bortoli Wines||De Bortoli Melba Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon||Yarra Valley||Australia||2017||Silver|
|Taylor Family Estate||Masterstroke Cabernet Sauvignon||Coonawarra||Australia||2020||MASTER|
|HKD 301 – 400|
|Schild Estate||Lorraine Schild Cabernet Sauvignon||Barossa Valley||Australia||2020||Silver|
|Dynasty Fine Wines||Dynasty Wisemenship Collection – Ravissantia||Tianjin||China||2010||Silver|
|Taylor Family Estate||St Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon||Clare Valley||Australia||2019||Gold|
|Salentein||Salentein Primus Cabernet Sauvignon||Tunuyan, Uco Valley, Mendoza||Argentina||2017||MASTER|
|HKD 450 – 500|
|De Bortoli Wines||De Bortoli Melba Amphora Cabernet Sauvignon||Yarra Valley||Australia||2019||Silver|
|HKD 650 – 700|
|Dynasty Fine Wines||Dynasty Premier Royal Selection – Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008||Tianjin||China||2008||Silver|
|HKD 750 – 800|
|De Bortoli Wines||De Bortoli Melba Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon||Yarra Valley||Australia||2018||Gold|
|HKD 801 – 850|
|Taylor Family Estate||The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon||Clare Valley||Australia||2018||MASTER|
|Oaked – Blend|
|HKD 200 – 250|
|Taylor Family Estate||Taylor Made BDX||Clare Valley/Coonawarra||Australia||2019||Gold|
|HKD 251 – 300|
|Taylor Family Estate||Masterstroke Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz||Clare Valley||Australia||2018||MASTER|