The Epic Raats Family Wines Eden High Density Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2014 Reviewed…

When it comes to the Loire varieties of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, no one in South Africa delivers quite like Bruwer Raats of Raats Family Wines in Stellenbosch. A passionate obsessive, Bruwer has dedicated most of his winemaking career to mastering these two varieties. 

In the Eden High Density Cabernet Franc, Bruwer has conjured up such vinous brilliance, producing probably the finest pure varietal version South Africa has ever seen. 300 vines in a single vineyard produced just 260 bottles, making this probably one of the rarest “new release” wines out of the Cape. But trust me, making the effort to hunt a bottle down will definitely be worthwhile!

Tasting Note: A mysterious dark opaque black plum colour that’s every bit as deep and alluring as the wines bouquet. At first, when poured, there are broody Cabernet Franc notes of cassis leaf, capsicum, graphite and cedar spice. But given five minutes of air, this wine blossoms like a Namaqualand wild flower field after August rains. Lush black peppercorns, cassis, saline briney black berry complexity. There are so many layers of orange blossom, orange peel and black  forest berries. The palate is tight and pin point on the entry, layered, with dusty silky tannins, tart linear acids and a cool 13.5 Abv. The fruit concentration seems at once dense but also weightless, as the dark earthy fruits dance across the palate with such elegance. The peacocks tail of fruit complexity fans out on the mid-palate and then constricts again, leading to a focused, taught, fresh, long vibrant finish. The pieces of this vinous puzzle fit together seamlessly. One can only imagine how profound this wine will be in 10-15 years time. Bravo Bruwer! 

(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW) 

Gabrielskloof Cabernet Franc 2015 ~ An Exclusive Tasting Preview…

A real privilege to do an exclusive world preview on a fantastic new South African red wine like this. With a hand delivered sample from Peter-Allan Finlayson, I was excited to be the first wine merchant to taste the new 2015 Gabrielskloof Cabernet Franc, recently bottled and due for release in South Africa in May/June 2017.

Made from a single vineyard, only 4,099 bottles have been produced from whole bunch clusters, fermented with wild yeasts. Clocking in at 14.4 Abv., this wine delivers a very classy, seductive, light handed, elegant version of Cabernet Franc.

This red was aged in 500L barrels, using 30% new French oak, for 18 months. On opening, this wine has taught, spicy, stalky, sappy, Loire complexity written all over it. But with 10 to 15 minutes in the glass, it reveals a more overt, sensual, opulent melange of sweet black fruits, barbecued meets, savoury foresty red bramble fruits, blood oranges, cedar spice, dusty led pencil, and a superbly pure sweet black current and blue berry intensity. Wonderful varietal typicity of cassis leaf, black plum, sweet soft textured concentration, coffee bean spice and a rich, long persistent finish. I love this wine’s intensity of fruit, light weight precision across the palate, and its cool, Cabernet Franc finesse. Peter-Allan is on to something very special here. A wine to watch out for. (Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)