Raats Cabernet Franc 2012

Dynamite.

Dynamite.

Bruwer Raats has been making his single-variety Cabernet Franc since 2001, working with the same two Stellenbosch blocks from 2005 and the wines keep getting better. I thought the 2011 was terrific (see here) and wondered how he might possibly improve on it the short-term. He just has with the 2012.

A really lovely array of aromas and flavours including red and black berries, violets, crushed leaves and pencil shavings. The fruit concentration is awesome – it’s about as pure and unadulterated as any modern-era South African wine I’ve tasted – and there’s also a wonderful sense of freshness although you don’t notice the acidity specifically. The tannins, meanwhile, are firm but fine and it should be a pleasure to watch them resolve over the next 10 years, maybe 20.

All this and the wine has only 13.5% abv, pretty much unheard of in recent times. How does he do it? “We prune early to encourage early budding. Then we open up the canopy early so ripening begins in late-spring, early-summer – the grapes get used to the sun and we get proper physiological ripeness,” he says. It comes available in November and can be pre-ordered from Wine Cellar now at R395 a bottle.

Score: 95/100.

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6 Comments

  1. Riaan RossouwDecember 10, 2014 at 1:59 pmReply

    Cab franc is a tricky fellow in the vineyard,I have drunk Bruwers wines over the last few years and can truly say he is getting it right in the vineyard and cellar,great cab franc is a few and far in between .

  2. RyanTheWineGeekOctober 2, 2014 at 2:16 pmReply

    World class!

  3. SanjeevOctober 1, 2014 at 11:08 pmReply

    How does this compare to the bottles found in the Woolworths selection?

    • Christian EedesOctober 2, 2014 at 8:39 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Sanjeev, The Woolworths bottling (R145 a bottle) sits somewhere between the Family Wines (as reviewed above) and the lighter, more easy-drinking Dolomite (R115 a bottle).

  4. Christian EedesOctober 1, 2014 at 6:46 pmReplyAuthor

    Hi Kwispedoor, This must have been right up your alley – a touch of “greenness” – but good green not bad green and sub-14% abv! It’s good to know we can still make wines like this…

  5. KwispedoorOctober 1, 2014 at 5:14 pmReply

    I also really enjoyed it. Classy stuff. On a vertical tasting of this wine two days ago, I was impressed by the authenticity of this wine, really managing to express each vintage nicely. The 2012 was one of my four favourites from 2001 to 2012.

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