Bruwer Raats was away when I visited this Stellenbosch winery, so I caught up with his cousin and winemaker Gavin Slabbert who oversees both the Raats portfolio and their old vine focused range under “B Vintners”. The grape synonymous with Raats is Cabernet Franc and frankly there is no finer practitioner. You don’t have to splash out much cash. Both the Dolomite Cabernet Franc from lower lying vineyards and the Jasper Red Blend (until now labeled “Red Jasper”) are both excellent. Their high-density bottlings of both Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc from a small patch of vines outside the winery are outstanding, the only downside being the pitifully small quantity produced. - From Some Great Reward: South Africa (Aug 2018) by Neal Martin
Pork Loin with plum and Armagnac sauce. Beef Fillet with Truffle sauce. Game bird with red wine sauce. Any Springbok, Ostrich or Kudu.
Originally a partnership between brothers Bruwer and Jasper Raats, with their father Jasper Snr as viticulturist, Raats Family Wines was founded on a passion for Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Today it is award-winning winemaker and natural marketer Bruwer Raats that has acquired full ownership of the company, with father Jasper Snr retired. Bruwer spent time at esteemed Blaauwklippen, Delaire and Zorgvliet estates before his commitment to build the Raats Family brand full time. His intense and personal devotion has seen Raats Family Wines evolve into a New World leader in the production of these varietals, which many international critics consider benchmarks. A great deal of effort has gone into sourcing specific soil types and old low-yielding vineyards located in the Stellenbosch, Paarl, Durbanville Hills and the Paardeberg area. ”The best viticultural soil for Chenin Blanc in all the land is undoubtedly located in and around Stellenbosch. We source from vines on average 25 years old, grown 250m above sea level - perfect!” All grapes are handpicked and wines made with his extensive knowledge and attention to detail. The result is a truly distinctive showcase for South African wine and soil. Bruwer travels to the US and Europe each year to visit top restaurants and loyal customers, and believes that personal relationships with the sellers of his wines are vital. ”Because our wines should essentially be enjoyed in the company of good food by people appreciative of the passion and dedication that go into the making thereof. ” All the efforts have paid off. Raats Family Wines are enjoyed in the UK, USA, Canada and Europe and his wines are consistently rated tops by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Decanter, Wine & Spirits, Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate magazines, etc.