Cabernet Sauvignon tasting with Brian Croser and Santa Rita Estates

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Santa Rita Estates tasting

Cabernet Sauvignon tasting with Brian Croser and Santa Rita Estates

Decanter's consultant editor Steven Spurrier attended a unique tasting of some of the world's finest Cabernet Sauvignons in a blind tasting last week presented by winemaker Brian Croser in partnership with Santa Rita Estates. Read Steven's report below plus see the collection of wines plus his tasting notes and scores as well as pictures from the evening here.

Steven Spurrier's tasting report:

In presenting the tasting of 12 Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from around the world, Brian Croser quoted Jancis Robinson in her Wine Grapes book as describing the it as “the world’s best travelled grape variety making concentrated, tannic wines for particularly long ageing”. 

He then gave his own description of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile:  “Nearly always with a glass-staining vibrant colour, opening to fresh aromas of spicy, slightly briary, essence of Cabernet fruit, tinged with an exotic edge of mulberry and cassis.  The ripe fruit sweetness of the middle palate graduates to a plane of definite and serious tannins.  This is a serious terroir-driven red wine of a style that can’t be produced anywhere else.”  The organisation Wine Chile seems to concur, stating that “Cabernet Sauvignon is Chile’s star grape, the king of all reds.” 

Whether the crowded room at Claridges would agree with these statements was left to the tasting, which was blind, in two flights of six wines each followed by brief comments from the room.  Cabernet Sauvignon is the result of a marriage between Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc, the latter bringing a certain “greenness” to the fruit.  Across the four Bordeaux varieties planted in Chile, Merlot is the least green, then Cabernet Franc, then Cabernet Sauvignon, with Carmenere being the most green.  Another quote from Jancis Robinson:  “What is remarkable about Cabernet Sauvignon is that it imprints its identity so firmly on any wine that includes it, although it manages to produce great wine in only a small proportion of the hundreds of regions in which it is planted.”

The proof was in the tasting, in which Chile figured very well.

Watch Decanter's exclusive video interview with Brian Croser here

See Steven Spurrier's tasting notes and scores of the wines at the tasting here

Santa Rita Estates tasting
Cabernet Sauvignon, Te Mata Coleraine New Zealand 2009