Xanadu wins James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge

By Amelia Ball

25 Sep, 2020

Celebrated Margaret River winery Xanadu has collected the top gong in this year’s James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge with a $40 wine. 

Margaret River’s Xanadu has won the James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge with its 2018 Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon ($40), which trumped 364 entries in this year’s competition. Submissions came from almost 30 wine regions around the country. 

The judging panel whittled the wines down to the best expressions of cabernet sauvignon from five different regions, with Xanadu deemed the ultimate winner from that selection. Representing excellent value, the four other regional winners are all priced under $50, comprising the 2018 K1 By Geoff Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon ($45, Adelaide Hills), 2018 Brand’s Laira 1968 Vines Cabernet Sauvignon ($40, Coonawarra), 2018 Peter Lehmann Masters Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon ($45, Barossa), and the 2018 Boat O’Craigo Braveheart Cabernet Sauvignon ($35, Yarra Valley). 

This latest accolade continues an award-winning run for the Xanadu team, headed by Glenn Goodall. They won Wine of the Year in the 2015 Halliday Wine Companion Awards with the 2011 Xanadu Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon, and among many other wine show wins – including seven consecutive cabernet trophies at the National Wine Show of Australia – they also won the coveted Jimmy Watson Trophy at the 2018 Royal Melbourne Wine Show for the 2016 Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon

Glenn says the 2018 vintage was especially good in Margaret River, so he was thrilled to win in such a strong field of contenders. “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, among so many great Australian producers, is extremely rewarding for the whole Xanadu team.” 

The judging occurred in Coonawarra and Margaret River this year due to Covid restrictions. Cabernets of all vintages were eligible and judged blind in regional brackets, with the judges unaware of the regions they were assessing during the process. Wines achieving a gold medal score – 95 points or more – were selected to determine the Best of Region wines, with the ultimate winner judged from those five regional winners.   

For all details, visit James Halliday Australian Cabernet Challenge.

Amelia Ball is the editor of Halliday magazine.