I was tasting his truly great Chenin Blancs and Cabernet Francs with Bruwer Raats of Raats Family Wines earlier this week. Bruwer has become an overnight success after 19 years of hard slog to find acceptance for his utterly sublime wines – few realise the hard work that goes in before becoming an overnight success. The wine which really stood out for me was the Raats Family Dolomite Cabernet Franc 2016. In the Winemag.co.za Report on Alternative Varieties this week, four Raats Family Cabernet Francs performed really well with the Raats Family Cabernet Franc 2016 coming out on top as the Best Scoring Red Wine. Was I expected to be surprised? Hell no!
Bruwer is the consummate wine maker. One of the things he said to me was that harvesting was hard, but then you are on the road for the rest of the year marketing your product. I have long been a fan of Cabernet Franc, which is the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, in a long-ago vineyard crossing in Bordeaux with Sauvignon Blanc.
Picked at perfect ripeness over a number of passes from vines planted in decomposed granite soils, the grapes are hand sorted three times, then destalked and crushed and left to cold soak for five days. Fermentation took place I stainless steel tanks. After basket pressing, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks before being matured in 300 litre neutral French oak Barrels. The wine is then prepared for bottling.
Pour from a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is minimalist and elegant. In the glass, at the heart it is a deep bloodplum in colour. The aromas once you get your nose to the glass are of cherries, Morello and Bing. On entry, I was struck by the lovely herbaceousness this wine has. A golden thread of fine acidity runs through to the long and satisfying aftertaste where it is interwoven with the dark fruit, the gentle oak and its concomitant spice and vanilla ad cashmere clad tannins. Drinking so well now and has the power to last another 5 years of cool cellared.
The Raats Family Dolomite Cabernet Franc 2016 is excellent with the Traditional Sunday Roast Lunch like the plate offered here by Nina Timm of my-my-easy-cooking.com.
Read more about Raats Family Wines – CLICK HERE