The National Liquor News wine tasting panel sipped and swirled their way through a selection of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends, scoring the wines across three price brackets. The diversity, style and structure of the wines blew our judges away and this was reflected in their high scores.

Below is a selection of the highest scoring wines. And you can find the full tasting in the June issue of National Liquor News, which is available online here.

The Top Scoring Wines


2018 Shingleback Davey Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (96 points)

Region: McLaren Vale

Distributed by: David Muster (SA); Shingleback (Nationally)

“Opaque ruby. Quite closed nose – violets, liquorice, blackberry, promising. Medium to full body, the palate is initially subtle – some sweet black fruit with deftly applied oak, mouth coating tannins and balanced acidity. Needs time.” – Salvatore Matgiotta, Delegat Limited


2014 Taylors The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon (96 points)

Region: Clare Valley

Distributed by: Taylors Wines

“Rich, generously layered yet elegant and really shows the promise of cellaring for a while longer.” – Christine Ricketts, The Wine Quarter


2016 Shingleback D Block Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (95 points)

Region: McLaren Vale

Distributed by: David Muster (SA); Shingleback (Nationally)

“Nice eucalypt on the nose, a lovely wine showing some complexity on the palate. Mouthfeel is generous and not at all hollow. Well made.” – Sabine Duval, The Wine Collective


2017 Tamburlaine Organic Cabernet Sauvignon (94 points)

Region: Orange

Distributed by: Tamburlaine Organic Wines

“Intense but pretty flavours, very grippy tannin at the moment but the fruit is pronounced and generous and worthy of time in the cellar.” – Michael Park, Dan Murphy’s


2018 Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon (94 points)

Region: Langhorne Creek

Distributed by: Negociants Australia

“Ripe tannin, supports a very stylish bell curve of building flavour before melting away over a very long finish. Very well made and modern Cabernet.” – Michael Park, Dan Murphy’s


2017 Brookland Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (94 points)

Region: Margaret River

Distributed by: Accolade Wines

“Gorgeous deep and mysterious ruby colour, with cassis on the nose. It is so dark fruit driven, and then develops oak characteristics of cedar and worn leather. Tannins in lovely balance with its acidity and even a hint of sweetness (from the abundant fruity flavours). A graceful, refined and polished wine to drink now or let develop in the cellar. Absolutely wonderful.” – Andy Dean, The Tasting Glass


2018 Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon (93 points)

Region: Margaret River

Distributed by: Samuel Smith & Son

“Varietally typical and very enjoyable with aromas of cassis and gentle eucalyptus supported by juicy tannins.” – Bryn Lucas, Heinemann Australia


2018 Calabria Three Bridges Cabernet Sauvignon (92 points)

Region: Barossa Valley

Distributed by: Calabria Family Winemakers

“Enticing nose with blackcurrant, slightly tobacco notes with spice. Ripe blackcurrant flavour with tobacco coming through with vanilla. Full mouthfeel.” – Andy Young, TheShout & Bars and Clubs

The Panel

  • Christine Ricketts, Wine Educator, The Wine Quarter
  • Andrew Graham, Online Communications Manager, The Wine Collective
  • Andrew Stubbs, Manager, Vine Wine
  • Sabine Duval, Senior Wine Buyer, The Wine Collective
  • Bryn Lucas, Purchasing Manager – Wine & Tobacco, Heinemann Australia
  • Michael Park, Wine Merchant, Dan Murphy’s Kingsford
  • Salvatore Margiotta, State Sales Manager, NSW & ACT, Delegat Limited
  • Andy Dean, Co-founder, The Tasting Glass
  • Tom Czerski, Purchasing Manager, NSW Golf Club
  • Amy Hayes, Freelance Wine Writer
  • Andy Young, Editor, The Shout & Bars and Clubs
  • Craig Hawtin-Butcher, Marketing Manager, Food and Beverage Media
  • Deb Jackson, Editor, National Liquor News

Judges Comments


“The wines were all a good reflection of their region of origin and it was a pleasant reminder of how Australia is able to produce one of the world’s most diverse range of styles of Cabernet.” – Bryn Lucas, Purchasing Manager – Wine & Tobacco, Heinemann Australia.

“Across the bracket, structure and acidity all in balance with flavour intensity, in the main these wines are drinking well now on release. No green, unripe wines, no mint or eucalyptus… simply, modern stylish Cabernets.” – Michael Park, Wine Merchant, Dan Murphy’s.

“The wines with age showed great integration of flavour. Significant difference with a wine under cork as it is developing beautifully.” – Sabine Duval, Senior Wine Buyer, The Wine Collective.

Editor’s Picks

  • 93 Singlefile Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Frankland River (Domaine Wine Shippers)
  • 87 Brockenchack Miss Bronte Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Eden Valley (Brockenchack Wines)
  • 89 De Bortoli Woodfired Heathcote Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Heathcote (De Bortoli)
  • 92 Rob Dolan Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Yarra Valley (Nelson Wine Company (VIC/QLD/SA); Winestock Fine Wines (NSW); Thomas Chin (NT)

Food Pairing

  • “A nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and a good beef burger is always a fun, indulgent combination.” – Bryn Lucas
  • “Grilled steak, chips, salad. Not fancy, just perfect.” – Michael Park
  • “Slow cooked lamb shanks with rosemary.” – Tom Czerski
  • “My favourite would be beef lasagne – just make sure there’s a proper splash of Cabernet in the mince too.” – Andy Dean
  • “These wines offer a great opportunity to continue past the main course and offer a great match for dark chocolate style desserts.” – Amy Hayes

Cabernet Sauvignon Facts

Source: Wine Australia

  • Coonawarra and Margaret River are globally regarded as premier Cabernet Sauvignon producing regions.
  • It is a variety that can age gracefully for decades.
  • Penfolds Block 42 vineyard in the Barossa was planted in 1885 and is thought to be the oldest surviving Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in Australia.
  • Originating in the Gironde in south west France, Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Keep your eyes peeled for the July issue of National Liquor News, which will be available next week and will feature our annual Shiraz tasting.



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Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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