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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.
The 2017 Old Vines Chenin Blanc comes from three parcels of 40-plus-year-old vines. Half of the wine was fermented and matured in 300-liter French oak barrels, half in stainless steel, for nine months before blending. The fragrant bouquet demands coaxing from the glass, revealing scents of yellow fruit, fennel and light granite. The palate is well balanced, offering orange zest, yellow fruit and touches of ginger and a very subtle, rich viscosity toward the finish, while maintaining superb freshness from beginning to end. Superb. ~92 pts Vinous Media
On first sniff, a soft wood note jumps from the glass, but once you look past that, you get to toasted apple slices, orange peel and Honeycomb cereal tones beneath, with hints of dried fynbos, sage and lemon wax at the back. The mouthfeel is fleshy, almost generous, with solid wood-grilled apple and orange oil flavors that carry through to the close. Ample acidity and a pleasant texture kicks in to enliven the feel, with lovely spiced orange tea and dried fynbos tones lingering on the close. ~92WE