by Treve Ring | Yes, it’s true – the renegade renaissance of South Africa winemaking is now, and it’s actually made it over to shelves in BC. I’m thrilled to see an ever-growing selection of authentic, characterful and terroir-fueled wines from RSA on shelves and lists. For far too long the majority of what we saw in this province had zero correlation to the exciting South African wine scene, a collective movement that I consider one of the most exciting on the planet right now.
Wines like this show why. Brothers Bruwer and Jasper Raats are focused on crafting world class Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc (yes, from the Loire Valley). Through low-intervention production and from individual, often old-vine vineyards, they are letting the soils and the grapes tell their own story.
Raats Family Wines 2012 Dolomite Cabernet Franc | Stellenbosch, South Africa | $25
This wine is telling me: crushed rock juice. And not just any rocks. Dolomite. Broken stones and alluring florals stream through this light-bodied cabernet franc from a mix of dry-farmed, trellised and bush vines of 19-26 years of age. Subtle cassis, light anise and franc’s characteristic herbal tobacco greenness ride along finely grippy tannins. Fruit from dry-farmed vineyards in Stellenbosch and Paarl is grown on decomposed dolomite granite, which gives lifted acidity, threads of textural minerality and freshness through the lengthy, bitter cocoa dusted and slightly warm (for 13.5%) finish. After soaking on the skins for five days and wild ferment, grapes are basket-pressed into stainless steel before a year in aged French oak. Alluring, engaging and enticing stuff; this is South Africa now!