Raats Family Wines Releases Their New Jasper Red Blend 2019 After Declassifying the MR de Compostella 2019 Flagship Red…

The Raats Jasper Red Blend was first created in 2010 when Bruwer Raats declassified the MR de Compostella for the very first time, and named it the Red Jasper after his father, Jasper Raats Senior, who was one of the founders and first viticulturists of Raats Family Wines. The wine then became a permanent edition to the Raats range establishing its own unique following amongst consumers. Now, for the first time since the 2010 vintage, Bruwer has taken the decision to declassify the MR de Compostella 2019 and blend the component parts into the Jasper Red Blend.

The ethos behind the MR de Compostella always dictates that the final blend needs to pack enough structural muscle and depth of fruit to ensure an age ability of at least 20 to 30+ years if cellared correctly. The declassification is certainly not based on a lesser quality of wines but more on their structural integrity that may not be quite sufficient for the long haul. So once again, the Jasper Red Blend is a super charged baby MR selling at a fraction of the price of the MR de Compostella Grand Vin.

Tasting new releases at Raats Family Wines in March 2022 with Bruwer Raats.

Back at the end of 2019, when I hosted Bruwer Raats in London and presented the world’s first full MR de Compostella vertical from 2004 to 2017, we included a very rare bottle of the Raats Red Jasper 2010 in the line up. The wine had aged beautifully but comparing the 2010 to even some of the older vintages, it did not have quite the density, structure and power that the other MR de Compostella blends had, vindicating Bruwer’s decision to declassify the wine. Having tasted the Jasper 2019 twice in recent weeks, I can’t help feeling that the wine is more serious and more structured than the 2010 was on release, but I trust that Bruwer’s judgement to declassify will be vindicated in years to come. Nevertheless, the Jasper 2019 is a fabulous red blend loaded with Cabernet Franc elegance and should find a willing home in most price savvy collectors’ cellars. So fill your boots I say!

Raats Family Wines Jasper Red Blend 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 14% Abv.

The 2019 is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 43% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot creating an elegant, generous offering packed full of charm and finesse. The aromatics are delightfully subtle yet complex with notes of sweet allspice, blueberries and black raspberries, dark chocolate, dried cigars, sandalwood and freshly tilled earth nuances. As you would expect from a blend that is half Cabernet Franc, there is a seriously fine pin point texture that is both expansive and creamy but also shows an impressive weightless concentration. Medium bodied, the palate is supple and polished revealing a thirst-quenching freshness and approachable tannins on a long, persistent finish. Ready to drink now, this turbo charged Jasper will undoubtedly benefit from a few more years in the cellar. This is a very classy Cape Bordeaux blend indeed. Drink from 2023 to 2035+.

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

New Release Review – Tasting the Raats Family Wines Eden High Density Chenin Blanc 2019…

There are more than a few top Chenin Blanc wines made in South Africa that capture ones attention when new vintages are released. Indeed the list of iconic high scoring collectable whites from South African grows longer by the day. But one of these benchmark wines, year on year, comes from the Chenin King himself, Bruwer Raats.

While the Raats Family Wines Original Chenin Blanc and Raats Family Wines Old Vine Chenin Blanc are both exceptional wines offering excellent value for money, it is undoubtedly Bruwer’s super-premium Eden High Density Single Vineyard Chenin Blanc that regularly pulls in the star ratings. A Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc vineyard planted in the late 2000’s right behind Bruwer’s house in the Polkadraai Hills, the Eden wine range was conceived with extreme precision viticulture in mind.

Bruwer Raats’s Eden Chenin Blanc Vineyard

This 0.6 hectare Eden Chenin Blanc vineyard is planted with the unique and now rare Montpellier clone that was sourced from the last remaining mother block in the Nuy Valley. Known to give very small, loose bunches, this clone eventually fell out of favour despite its ability to yield very high quality fruit.

Raats Family Winery High Density Eden Chenin Blanc 2019, WO Polkadraai Hills, 13% Abv.

2019 was an exceptional vintage for Chenin Blanc and the quality is clear for all to see on this impressive wine. The aromatics are subtle but sophisticated with delicate notes of yellow peaches, crunchy pears, wax and incense, wet thatch, oat meal and hints of dried orange peel. On the palate, the texture is taut and focused, crystalline and pure with a delicately weighted fruit concentration, vibrant tangy acids and a genteel melange of ripe peach, yellow apple and tangerine fruit zest. This is a very understated wine, an elegant but complex offering with incredible drinkability and a generous accessibility that results in the bottle being finished long before expected. Like all the very best bottles of white, this wine just somehow seems to evaporate out the glass! Drink on release or cellar for 8 to 10+ years. (Only 2,390 bottles produced.)

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

Another Vintage and Another Iconic Cabernet Franc Release – Tasting the New Raats Eden Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2018…

No two single wines in South Africa signal a higher quality ambition than the production of the Raats Family Wines’ Eden high density red Cabernet Franc and white Chenin Blanc. Coming from a 0.2ha high density vineyard (8,000 vines per hectare) meticulously planned and planted 9 years ago by Bruwer Raats at his Polkadraai property in Stellenbosch, the grapes were fermented in tank and then aged for 9 months in new French oak followed by a further 9 months elevage in older French oak barrels.

Ever since tasting a barrel sample with Bruwer Raats back Cape Town in February 2020, I have been awaiting this impressive new wine release. It is now quite simply the leading single varietal Cabernet Franc in South Africa and continues to gain an obsessive following among collectors and connoisseurs across the globe.

In reality, the only thing holding back its even faster success and popularity is the impossibly tiny quantity of wine produced. One single barrel or 365 bottles. This is a true unicorn wine offering and certainly a fine wine that should find a happy home in any of the greatest wine cellars around the world.

Raats Family Eden High Density Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2018, 13% Abv.

The 2018 vintage yielded another impressive expression of Cabernet Franc and who better than Bruwer Raats to perform his own kind of magic and conjure up another enchanting, seductive rendition of this iconic single vineyard wine. The nose is initially discreet and classical, leaning towards a purer, black and blue berry fruit driven expression with delicate floral notes of violets and rosemary with a youthful backing chorus of fresh brown toast, mocha, sweet tobacco, black currant and sappy cedar notes. Medium bodied but fabulously concentrated and intense, this sleek textured wine shows plenty of power with smooth mineral granitic tannins, mouth watering vitality and simply awesome persistence. This has all the finesse and pedigree you could ever want from a benchmark Cabernet Franc. Give this wine 3 to 5 years to mellow and then enjoy over another 10 to 15+.

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

A South African Chenin Blanc for Fine Wine Connoisseurs – Tasting the Profound Raats Eden Chenin Blanc 2015…

When Bruwer Raats released the first vintage of his high density planted Montpellier Clone Chenin Blanc in 2014, the wine represented a culmination of years of planning and work to produce a wine unlike anything else produced in South Africa. What Bruwer, the Chenin King achieved with his young vines is genuinely astonishing.

With the UK release of the third vintage imminent, I thought it would be fascinating to revisit the second vintage produced from the seriously stellar 2015 vintage to remind myself just how impressive this wine really is.

Raats Family Wines Eden Chenin Blanc 2015, WO Stellenbosch, 14 Abv.

Only 1,176 bottles produced from this young, high density vineyard planted to the Montpellier Chenin Blanc clone. The 2015 is an incredibly tight, serious, mineral and aromatic white with visceral tension and intensity and fruit slightly masked by vintage restraint. The aromatics are super complex with crushed gravel, wet grey slate, oyster shell, dry bush veld, white citrus blossom and crunchy yellow peaches. Restraint and reserve continues on the palate that is linear and slightly closed up, broody and restrained but with underlying generosity and depth temporarily bound up by tight fresh acids, tart lemon and pineapple fruit depth. This is a wine that needs to be tucked away in a dark cellar for 6 to 8+ years before reexamination! A profound expression of this variety.

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

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)