South African wines are among our personal favorites and this Old Vine Chenin Blanc from Raats Family Wines in Stellenbosch proves an exceptionally delightful white to accompany seafood, fish, duck and vegetarian dishes. It reflects the passion of the Raats family with its understated elegance and complexity with a nose of quince, pear, orange blossoms, spice -think cloves, nutmeg and ginger. There’s a lot going on and the complexity and acidity work well, with a lightness that is refreshing.
We had it with several dishes, from chicken wings to a cod, pasta and spaghetti sauce dish, and found it worked well. The grapes were picked at their full ripeness in February, 2012 from three vineyards in Stellenbosch with an average age of 45 years.
Raats notes that 30% of the wine was fermented and matured in 300 litre French oak barrels to accentuate the soft, luscious flavours; 70% fermented in stainless steel to contribute a crisp acidity and bright citrus flavours. After nine months, the two components are blended together and left on the lees for a further two months before bottling.
Wine publications have scored this wine between 89 and 94 points. It’s 13.5 percent ABV. We fully recommend it. Chenin blanc is well worth discovering and adding to your list of drinkable, value-packed wines. Raats wines are available from www.CapeClassics.com.