Raats Family Wines and Bruwer Vintners Storming Ahead with Some Exciting New Releases in 2023…

There are some incredibly exciting wines coming out of the Raats Family Wines and Bruwer Vintners wineries, with Bruwer Raats and Gavin Bruwer not only innovating with every new vintage release but also pushing their brand’s quality credentials continuously.

I caught up with Bruwer Raats recently in South Africa in March to taste his full range of wines and then again with his London-based son, Daneel Raats, at their UK importer’s portfolio tasting. The new release MR de Compostella 2020 was reviewed separately.

Bruwer Vintners Blanc de Noir 2022, 12% Abv.

A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Pinotage, with the Grenache barrel fermented and aged for 6 months in neutral oak to add structure and fruit intensity. The aromatics reveal attractive notes of strawberries and cream, raspberry ripple and subtle vanilla pod spice over a dusty, gravelly minerality. There is impressive fruit concentration, beautifully tangy fresh acids and a long line of purity on the finish that reveals red cherry and red plum stone fruit nuances. A super juicy wine.

(Wine Safari Score: 91+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Bruwer Vintners Harlem to Hope 2021 White Blend, 12.5% Abv.

A blend of 70% Chenin Blanc and 30% Semillon that shows lovely creamy peach stone and yellow orchard fruit aromatics with subtle spicy lemon grass and lanolin hints from the Semillon portion. On the palate the two varieties melt together beautifully showing notes of yellow plum, quince, peach and lemon herb spices. There is a fine mid-palate weight and a harmonious, elegant finish that is enlivened by a juicy line of acidity.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Raats Family Original Chenin Blanc 2022, WO Polkadraai Hills, 13% Abv. 

An impressive unoaked Chenin Blanc that shows striking aromatic lift and fruit purity with exotic notes of white peach, green apple purée and subtle floral orange blossom hints. This vintage shows impressive richness, intense pithy, phenolic peach and green pear fruits and a deliciously tangy, zesty acidity on the slightly saline finish. Very youthful but already showing very well indeed.

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Raats Family Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2021, WO Polkadraai Hills, 13% Abv. 

Made from vines of an average age 45 years old from three blocks, 50% fermented in 300 litre used oak barrels, 25% in concrete eggs and 25% in stainless steel on its lees for freshness and purity. A more complex, richer, textural expression that shows multiple layers of wet straw, yellow orchard fruits, honied peaches and subtle yellow apple notes. The palate is focused, fresh and pure with lovely mid-palate tension, textural concentration and a fine harmony and balance. Loaded with old vine fruit intensity, this is a very impressive example of Chenin Blanc grown on decomposed granite soils.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Raats Family Eden High-Density Single Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2021, WO Polkadraai Hills, 13% Abv. 

With only 1,734 bottles produced, the wine was aged in 50% concrete egg and 50% oak barrels and reveals a magical melange of fresh orange citrus, tangerine, white peach and Granny Smith Apple fruits over a very subtle maritime salinity and granitic minerality. The palate is intense and linear, ultra focused and fresh but also layered with generous fruit concentration but also overt minerality and wet river pebble nuances. An incredibly impressive expression of ultra premium Chenin Blanc.

(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Bruwer Vintners Dry Red Blend 2021, WO Stellenbosch, 13% Abv. 

A unique blend of 37% Grenache, 36% Shiraz and 27% Pinotage that makes for a supple, soft, elegant easy drinking expression that shows delicious layers of red berry, cranberry, red cherry and bramble berry fruit purity that is very reminiscent of young, pure, old school early drinking reds that are a dream for matching with diverse food offerings. Slightly earthy with a soft, fleshy, generous mid-palate fruit purity, finishing with vibrant energy, lovely acid freshness and mouth-watering drinkability.

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Bruwer Vintners Lone Wolf Cinsault 2021, WO Stellenbosch, 12.5%

Made from the Bellevue vineyard planted in 1953, 20% of the grapes were crushed and destemmed to give it a hint of semi-Maceration Carbonique in a “cuve close” for 7 days. The nose is intense and slightly wild with bramble berry, Turkish delight, marzipan and cranberry pastille with a subtle hint of wild strawberry. A fabulous example that combines freshness, finesse and elegance together with a subtle herby, spicy red berry fruit focus. This has all the elegance of Pinot Noir style and the earthy, brambly sapidity of a Grenache-styled wine but with the heightened Cinsault red berry fruit purity, perfume and accessibility. Simply spellbinding.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Bruwer Vintners Liberte Pinotage 2020, WO Polkadraai Hills, 13.5% Abv.

As Pinotage is a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, this elegant, juicy style represents the very best elements of both varieties, bursting with a red berry fruit intensity, waxy black currant, red cherry, incense and potpourri spice. The palate is cool, sleek and perfectly pinpoint with a tight grained texture, a lithe elegant light on its feet concentration and a long, energetic mineral finish with fine silky tannins and a vibrant, mouth-watering finish. Surely wines like this are a big part of the future of Pinotage on the global fine wine stage? Drink now and over the next 5 to 8+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Raats Dolomite Cabernet Franc 2020, WO Stellenbosch, 13.5% Abv.

Following on from the phenomenal success of the the 2019 vintage, the 2020 shows delicious layers of brambly red berry fruits, red plum, red currant, oregano and thyme herbal notes with hints of led pencil and Chinese five spice. The palate is soft and supple, showing a bright delicious mouth-watering acidity, with crunchy acids, soft elegant creamy tannins and a silky long generous finish. Always focused, fleshy, and eminently generous and accessible in style. You won’t find a better introduction to Cabernet Franc than this.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Raats Family Cabernet Franc 2020, WO Stellenbosch, 13.5% Abv.

Still a wine of origin Stellenbosch, over 80% of the fruit came from the Polkadraai Hills and reveals a much more serious, broodier, classical style of Cabernet Franc. The aromatics show lovely notes of cinnamon, rosemary, vanilla pod and sweet cedar over a bed of dark black berry fruits, black currant pastille, black cherry and a long intense finish of salinity, minerality and graphite. Simply delicious but also wonderfully plush, compact and premium in feel. A real South African benchmark.

(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Raats Family Wines Jasper Red Blend 2020, WO Stellenbosch, 14% Abv. 

The crisp, fresh, chiselled 2020 Jasper is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 25% Malbec, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot. Beautifully complex and classical with intricate aromatic layers of violets, earthy black currant, tilled earth, sweet cedar, crushed raspberries, herbal tea and sappy black fruits. The palate texture shows a wonderful harmony, finesse and soft touch elegance that is framed by fresh juicy red berry acids and incredibly silky soft supple tannins. There is a certain accessibility and tenderness to the wine that really helps showcase the overall harmonious balance. Very classy and accomplished with a truly racy mouth-watering freshness on the finish. If your budget doesn’t quite extend to the MR de Compostella 2020, your cellar will be more than thrilled to be stocked with a few cases of this delicious Stellenbosch red Cape Bordeaux blend. Drink now and over the next 8 to 10+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

The wines are imported into the UK and offered to trade by Alliance Wines.

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