Last night Wine Cellar hosted a historic Raats Cabernet Franc vertical at our offices in Johannesburg. For the first time ever, Bruwer Raats guided tasters through all 12 Cabernet Franc vintages ever produced, including the highly anticipated 2012.
There are obvious stylistic changes from 2005, where a second vineyard was included and the wines became more brooding. The 2001, a cooler vintage (just like ’04, ’07, ’11), showed tremendous balance and length with fine red fruit and a silky mid-palate. Many of the cooler vintages like 2007 showed a herbal character of fennel, oreganum, and marjoram with a linear streak and tremendous purity of fruit. 2009 can be summed up in a single word – balance! It has many good years ahead of it. 2010 is more accessible having softened up with lengthy blackberry fruit driven finish, and 2011 is perfumed and elegant but still quite tight.
The 2012 is quite possibly the best vintage ever produced. After lots of rainfall in the 2011 winter (one of the Cape’s wettest in 50 years), a cool and relatively dry winter allowed the vines to become dormant; a moderate spring, which was not too wet ,was closely followed by a gradual warming that climatically led to what Bruwer called ‘a perfect growing season’.
Youthful and brimming with wild raspberry on the nose, the 2012 Raats Family Cabernet Franc reveals a complex core on the palate – blackberry fruit, morello cherries and terrific spice underpinned by a structure that is unlike any of his previous vintages. It is mouth-filling and plush yet linear almost simultaneously. The finish with hints of cherry tobacco, chalky minerality and herbal spice entertain the palate long after the wine is finished. Terrific balance, firm but subtle acidity, a judicious approach to oak and a satin finish in the mouth will see this wine age beautifully.
If you’re in Cape Town, join us on the 8th of October to taste all 12 vintages of Raats Cabernet Franc. Bruwer does not have enough bottles to ever revisit the earliest vintages again, so this tasting is not be missed! View details.
The 2012 and a selection of other Raats wines are available from Wine Cellar; visit our main website to place your order.