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Cabernet from the Americas tasting – London

Cabernet from the Americas tasting – London

As Masters of Wine (and students, current or eternal), we are privileged to attend many outstanding tastings. But I honestly think this is one of the best – not least because those nice MWs in North America have done all the hard work for us! An astonishing line-up of top North American Cabernet-based wines, mainly from California and Washington State, this year showcasing the 2014 vintage – which, on this showing, may be even better suited to European palates than the wonderful, powerful 2013 vintage. With the California Wine Institute now becoming more active in the UK again, this is not the only chance to try such wines – but it is certainly the most focussed and most manageable.

This year, the tasting was enhanced by an extremely well chosen selection of Cabernet-based wines from Argentina and Chile. These proved a fascinating contrast, not least because the oak regime (or, in some cases, apparent lack of it) produced very different expressions of the grape.

Just one further reflection. As prices of top European wines escalate, with many likely to be pushed even higher by the short 2017 vintage, the prices of the majority of these North American wines look lighter on European wallets than they did a few years ago. Hopefully in 12 months time far more of these wines will be linked to stockists in the UK and Europe.

Richard Bampfield MW