I discovered Bruwer’s wines from South Africa about 7 months ago following the Naked Wines’ Tasting Tour back in June. I had picked up on raving reviews from some big wine guns and when I sampled his wines at the tasting it was pretty special so I bagged myself a Dolomite Cabernet Franc to start with. The Dolomite is Bruwer’s entry level and a perfect place to start in my opinion. It’s like a lighter version of the family.
Quote from my review on Naked Wines’ website at the time “one quick pointer to how good it is is how quickly we’ve downed it despite its 14% rating. It is sooo drinkable it’s like fruit juice”.
But on Valentine’s night, which we decided to spend at home with some cured meat and cheeses, it was the perfect excuse to try something a bit more special. Well look no further. Enters Raats Family Cab Franc.
Looking at the details on Bruwer Raats’ website, the grapes have been sorted not once, not twice but three times. Not sure if it’s standard practice or if it’s worth making a big deal out of but the purity here tells me that level of sorting is well worth it.
I decanted it for over 2 hours and after that time, the nose wasn’t shy of offerings: cassis, black cherries, black berries, some herbs, white pepper and a myriad of oak related aromas like toast and warm spices-a-go-go. There’s a great complexity in there that makes you want to go back to it again and again and you’ve not even started drinking it.
And the palate does not disappoint: generous amount of juicy and perfectly ripe (i.e. not overly so) fruits as above with oak, spices and some herbs on the side. There’s a great acidity, keeping it lively and fresh, plenty of ripe, mature tannins giving it a perfect structure. It’s superbly balanced, the finish has no end… I mean what else can I say? It ticks all the boxes and provides that wine magic you always hope for on top of it !
A note on the oak, just because this shy winemaker seems to enjoy having fun, the wine was aged for 18 months in French oak of which 25% was new, 25% 1 year old, 25% 2 years old and 25% 3 years old. I’m not sure if he tried other combinations because if I was given these barrels I’d probably start with this one to be honest. But I have to say, not being a big fan of big oaky wine, this worked very well and the oaky aromas and flavours are perfectly integrated and varied.
This wine has gathered an array of 90 and more scores from various world-known critics and I fully agree, it’s a corker. I wish I’d had the patience to open it in a few years but I’ll just have to bite the bullet and get a few more to store.