Australia’s best cabernet sauvignon revealed

The 2018 Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon has taken the top honours at the 2020 James Halliday Australia Cabernet Challenge.

The WA wine scoring 97 points of a possible 100 to claim the top trophy from 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 presented by Langton’s, took place simultaneously in Australia’s preeminent Cabernet producing regions, namely Coonawarra in South Australia and Margaret River in Western Australia, with Yarra Valley in Victoria also connecting through virtual means to deliver this single variety wine show with a difference.

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.

Xanadu Senior Winemaker, Glenn Goodall said: “I’m absolutely wrapped! 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.”

According to Goodall the 2018 vintage was a standout in Margaret River with wines of outstanding 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 here,” 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.”

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

Best of Region awards were presented to five regional winners, before revealing the overall winner.

Langton’s General Manager Jeremy Parham said: “We’re proud to support the James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge. This year in particular, as the team has innovated to overcome so many hurdles in order to deliver this important award. Raising the bar for Australian Cabernet is something from which we all benefit. Congratulations to the team at Xanadu and all of the regional winners.”

The 2020 James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge Regional Winners are:

Adelaide Hills Best of Region: Wines by Geoff Hardy, 2018 K1 By Geoff Hardy 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon – 95 points

Barossa Valley Best of Region: Casella Family Brands, 2018 Peter Lehmann Wines Masters Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon – 95 points

Coonawarra Best of Region: Brand’s Laira of Coonawarra, 2018 Brand’s Laira 1968 Vines Cabernet Sauvignon – 96 points

Margaret River Best of Region: Xanadu Wines, 2018 Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon – 97 points

Yarra Valley Best of Region: Boat O’Craigo Wines 2018 Boat O’Craigo Braveheart Cabernet Sauvignon – 96 points

The full results are now available to view at

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