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Recently I came across Raats winery from Stellenbosch and the wines were eye opening to say the least. I've traveled and tasted through South Africa. I've tasted hundreds of South African wines over the years. These wines stand out as the BEST Bordeaux blends I've ever tasted from the region. If you love Bordeaux, you'll love these wines. If you love Cabernet Franc in particular, this winery has catapulted to the top of my list as one of the global masters of this varietal.
Upon further exploration, I learned there is a fantastic story behind this winery.
You can find out more by watching this four minute video about the family.
I also learned I am not the only one who was impressed with the quality in the bottle. The winery has already been recognized by Platter's guide as the winery of the year in 2018 and by major US critics with numerous 94-96pt scores. I suppose like most wine lovers, I'm guilty of overlooking this winery and this region. Frankly, I don't have that many clients asking for South African wines. These wines will help change that. Wine lovers in the know are already aware that there are some stunning wines in South Africa. These wines sit atop the pyramid and are not to be missed.
As to the distinctions between the two vintages available, the 2014 has a higher dose of Cab Franc and Malbec, which softens the wine and the additional year in bottle makes it very appealing, sexy, and delicious now. The 2015 reminds me of 2016 in Bordeaux or 2013 in Napa in that it is tightly wound and tannic. The blend is meditative, muscular, and luxurious. This wine will benefit from decanting and additional time in bottle. Both wines have a long drinking window of 10+ years ahead of them. As far as value, these wines are worth the original SRP of $100+ and they out-drink many global peer wines at that price. But, with today's offer price, these wines are quite simply, a can't miss opportunity.
The 2014 De Compostella is a blend of 45% Cabernet Franc, 18% Malbec, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, each from different parcels around Stellenbosch, including one new parcel from the Faure vineyard for this vintage. Bruwer told me that the barrels are tasted blind and scored, and they are whittled down to the best until they have the best wine. It boasts a very impressive bouquet with superb delineation and focus: blackberry, bilberry, a light marine influence and a hint of tobacco. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin on the entry that probably belies the structure of this wine. It is very harmonious, as usual, with a lovely sappiness towards the finish. Not as intense as other vintages that I have tasted, nevertheless it is one of the most refined, and perhaps the 2014 will require less bottle age than in previous seasons. In a word: class.
Readers should refer to my producer introduction for Raats Family Wines. All that really needs to be said is that this is one of South Africa's best wines. ~ 94pts Wine Advocate
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