Trophy Cabernet

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Xanadu winemakers Brendan Carr and Glenn Goodall.
Camera IconXanadu winemakers Brendan Carr and Glenn Goodall. Credit: Jessica Wyld/Jessica Wyld

The 2018 Xanadu cabernet sauvignon has taken top honours at the 2020 James Halliday Australia Cabernet Challenge, scoring 97 points out of a possible 100 to be named Australia’s best cabernet.

The winning wine was one of 364 entries, encompassing 29 Australian wine regions.

In what is believed to be a world first, judging of the 2020 James Halliday Australia Cabernet Challenge took place simultaneously in Australia’s pre-eminent cabernet-producing regions: Coonawarra in South Australia and Margaret River in Western Australia, with Yarra Valley in Victoria also connecting virtually.

A panel of five judges each in Margaret River and Coonawarra tasted close to 200 wines over two days, with a further 40 wines assessed on the third and final day, to determine the regional trophy winners and overall cabernet champion in a virtual taste-off via Zoom.

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Xanadu senior winemaker Glenn Goodall shared his excitement in winning the prestigious national award, describing the win as his highlight of 2020.

“I’m absolutely rapt,” he said.“We’ve always taken enormous pride in our cabernet sauvignons, so to be awarded as the Cabernet Challenge Trophy in this year’s James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge is definitely the highlight of 2020, and a huge achievement for everyone involved at Xanadu, especially our growers.”

Goodall said the 2018 vintage was a stand-out in Margaret River, with wines of an extremely high quality being produced.

“Cabernet sauvignon loves Margaret River, and there would have been some strong wines in the mix given 2018 was such an amazing vintage,” he said.

“No doubt, in years to come everyone’s 2018 Cabernets will still be the yardstick by which such exceptional vintages are remembered, so to have our 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon recognised like this, amongst so many great Australian producers, is extremely rewarding for the whole Xanadu team,” he said.

The results of the James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge were announced on Langton’s YouTube channel and streamed to Facebook Live.

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