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Raats Cabernet Franc 2015

Cabernet Franc from South Africa
  • WE93
  • TA93
  • WS90
750ML / 14% ABV
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750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The nose entices with its perfume and a garrigue character of Cape fynbos, rosemary, lavender and thyme with spicy notes of nutmeg, cloves and star anise. Intense brooding blackberry fruit, graphite and a streak of minerality add to the complexity of the nose. The palate is dominated by blueberry, mulberry, brambles, dark cherries, licorice and the aniseed and other spices following through from the nose. The palate is complex and textured with fine grained silky tannins balancing the dark berry fruit. Blue- and blackberries dominate the smooth finish with hints of dark chocolate.

Pair with rosemary rubbed grilled lamb chops or leg of lamb, tarragon chicken, duck breasts with cassis and raspberries, venison with blackberry sauce and flourless chocolate cake.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
A striking wine, this brand has long been an advocate for Cab Franc in South Africa, and the skill and experience of winemaker Bruwer Raats absolutely shines here. Plush and attractive, yet well defined, it opens with herbal aromas of green peppercorn, tobacco leaf, bark and a touch of pressed iris that weave throughout the ripe blackberry, cherry and currant fruit. Medium-plus in weight, it boasts a crushed-velvet texture and slightly creamy impression, framed by structured tannins and superb acidity to balance. The long finish offers an exercise of evolution, from ripe fruit to fresh earthy tones and finally dried ash and spice. It's hard to resist now, in all its complex, layered glory, but this will mature well through 2028.
TA 93
Tim Atkin

Using grapes from two of Bruwer Raats’ best (and highest) blocks, both of which face south, this is a very dense, muscular, sinewy Cabernet Franc that has an appealing combination of old vine concentration, herbal, lead pencil aromas and well judged spicy oak. 2019-25

Alcohol: 14%

WS 90
Wine Spectator
Dark olive, bay leaf and tobacco notes hold the upper hand on the core of fresh cherry and damson plum fruit. Light brambly grip supports the finish. Should unwind with a touch of cellaring.
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Raats
Raats, South Africa
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Raats Family Wines, founded in 2001 by brothers Bruwer and Jasper Raats, is focused solely on crafting world class Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, best known as the premier grapes of France's Loire Valley. The small, family-owned winery has quickly established itself as a New World leader in the production of these two varietals, garnering tremendous critical acclaim – including consistent 90+ ratings – and a dedicated fan base.

Raats is truly a family operation, and the clan firmly believes that South Africa's proliferation of older Chenin Blanc vineyards provides a unique opportunity to craft terroir-driven wines that serve as international benchmarks for the varietal. Raats owns several hectares of estate vineyards in the Polkadraai Hills. In addition, they source Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc from several extremely low-yielding old vines parcels where Bruwer maintains complete control of viticulture. These sites are characterized by complex soils of sandstone and decomposed granite.

For Bruwer, the greatest part of crafting wines under your own label is that "you don't have to worry about shareholders or catering to a market, or to keeping within a cellar's style. You can have freedom of expression in something that you believe in." The Raats family continues to win over hordes of thirsty consumers worldwide with their passionate belief in the classic, versatile and decidedly stylish varietals of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

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South Africa

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With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.

Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.

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Cabernet Franc

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The subtler and more delicate of the Cabernets, Cabernet Franc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. While both are important grapes in modern day, high quality Bordeaux, interestingly, Cabernet Franc most likely originated from the Basque region of France sometime during the middle 1600’s. Today Cabernet Franc produces outstanding single varietal wines across the wine producing world, with some of its most classic examples from France’s Loire Valley, in the regions of Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc performs quite well in parts of California, New York and Virginia. It is also a great blending grape.

In the Glass

Cabernet Franc typically tastes of red raspberries, cherries and herbs, with a stunning perfume of violets, tobacco and spice.

Perfect Pairings

Mouthwatering acidity makes Cabernet Franc an incredibly food-friendly wine, helping to cut through the richness of fatty meat dishes. It especially shines in tandem with lamb, and its affinity for the spice cabinet allows it to pair perfectly with Chinese dishes prepared with Szechuan pepper and five-spice.

Sommelier Secret

One of California's best-kept secrets is the Happy Canyon appellation of Santa Barbara. Here Cabernet Franc shines as a single varietal wine or in blends, expressing sumptuous fruit, savory aromas and polished tannins.

STC175716_2015 Item# 434833