Since founding Raats Family Wines in the Stellenbosch area of South Africa in 2000, Bruwer Raats has been acclaimed as “forward thinking and exciting” by wine afficiandos from around the globe.
“We do it small and we do it fantastically,” he’s quoted as pointing out, adding that Raats seeks to be “rare, unique, small and different.”
And it is all of that. The Red Jasper 2014 and the Cabernet Franc of the same vintage offer the same level of high quality that the winery has provided since it began. The Red Jasper ’14 blends blackberry with black cherry for what some have called berry-like fruitiness. It is 60 percent Cabernet Franc, 24 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, eight percent Petit Verdot, six percent Merlot and two percent Malbec for a full-bodied and fruity vintage.
It was named in tribute to the winemaker’s late father, Jasper, who was founder and viticulturist for nine years.
The Cabernet Franc ’14 is from the oldest, highest vineyard on the estate and has been described as ‘exceptional.’ Smell hints of rosemary, lavender, thyme and blackberry fruit in this wine, which was won a Double Platinum award in the Top 100 South African Wine Challenge in 2014. Taste hints of brambles and blueberry along with notes of nutmeg, cloves and star anise. These wines, dubbed “super elegant,” are special and worthy of placement on wine lists for their quality and value as they proudly represent the South African terrain. Check out www. Raats.co.za.
Two Portuguese wines from Herdade Do Rocim, Touriga Nacional, Vinho Regional Alentejano 2015 and Verdelho Vinho Regional Alentejano 2015, come from the southern part of Portugal between Vidigueira and Cuba, produced on the estate owned by Caterina Vieira and Pedro Ribiero who have invested in the land, regenerating vineyards and creating a new state of the art winery.
The region has soil consisting of clay and sand and the wines are harvested manually and are organic though not certified as such. The wines undergo cold maceration prior to fermentation in French oak barrels for nine months, and are then bottle aged an additional three months.
Touriga Nacional, a rich ruby red with purple notes, is fresh with good minerality and soft tannins. From the aging, it develops spicy notes. The Verdelho is a light gold with hints of chartreuse, with notes of lime, green almond and white peach. It’s 13.5 percent ABV.
Both represent excellent quality and value, pair well with food and would be great additions to wine by the glass lists. Learn about the lovely wines of Southern Portugal with these two as a guide!
Travel to France and discover beautiful wines from hillside vineyards! For example, there’s Chateaux Recougne’s Bordeaux Superieur from one near Fronsac and Pomerol – the wine is vinified in temperature-regulated tanks and macerated for three weeks before being aged in tanks and oak barrels. The result is a rich, deep garnet colored wine with a red fruit nose, tannins of roasted coffee, and a palate described by the winemaker as “licorice on attack”!
It’s a concentrated, balanced vintage with 77 percent Merlot, 14 percent Cabernet Franc and nine percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
We discovered the wine at the autumn Goldmine of Planet Bordeaux wines this Fall in Boston at Troquet where Michael Madrigale, the group’s ambassador, presented a wonderful selection of red and white wines, noting that the region is in “the golden age of Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Superior AOC,” with high quality, beautifully expressed sense of the terroir and reasonable pricing.
Since 2009 when it received 88 points from Wine Spectator, it’s been receiving acclaim, winning gold, silver and bronze medals for its 2010, 2011, ’12, ’13, ’14 and ’15 vintages at a number of European wine events. Visit https://www.planete-bordeaux.fr/en/
Planet Bordeaux, the U.S. marketing program of the Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur AOCs Winemakers’ Association, represents all wines produced in the regional appellations.
The Kanonkop Kadette Dry Pinotage Rosé 2015 from South Africa is a traditional rosé with rich aromatic raspberry and cherry flavors from this Stellenbosch winery whose name means “Cannon Hill,” referring to the days when cannons were fired to signal the arrival of Dutch trading ships into Cape Town Harbor.
With grapes from Stellenbosch, east of Cape Town, the 2015 wine was made after a cold and wet winter with a moderate ripening period, harvested on January 28, 2015. The wine has soft tannins and complexity, with a long finish. It is 14% ABV and makes for lovely sipping on a warm summer day or evening.
A beautiful Shiraz from the Western Cape of South Africa
FRANSCHHOEK, SOUTH AFRICA – Topiary, a relatively young winery which is said to be the only French-owned one in the country, is owned by two Frenchmen, Philippe Colin and Serge Jacqzynski with backgrounds in the wine industry in their native land – Philippe as a wine farmer in Burgundy, and Serge, as a former sommelier.
This particular wine is 100 percent Shiraz, from grapes grown on 15 year old trellised vines that face south and are planted in a mix of granite and sandstone. The wine offers hints of Damson plum, mulberry, white pepper and spices such as anise, with what some critics have called “silky” tannins. It’s a wine that spends 12 months in French oak barrels, 10 percent of which are new, for aging. The rest of the barrels used are 2nd to 4th fill.
Topiary Shiraz ’14 is smooth and silky with a long finish. It’s 14.3% ABV Delicious with dark fruits, we think you’ll find it a good value at around $23 retail.
Domaine De La Réserve D’O comes from the Languedoc region of France where former wine shop owners Marie and Frederic Chauffray are producing beautiful wines with rich intensity. The 2012 received 92 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.The wine is aged in unlined concrete tanks and is biodynamic and organic. The grapes are biodynamically farmed in the sub-region, which receives a Mistral wind off the Mediterranean.
The grapevines are 30-plus years old and are certified organic. Cooler nights and hot sunny days help balance the acids and sugars in the grapes.
This wine is 14 percent ABV. It’s fruity, rich flavors and intensity make it a special wine for either every day drinking or celebratory occasions. Today, Terrasses du Larzac in the Langeudoc-Roussilon has been approved (since 2014) for appellation status.
Like many California wineries, Thomas George Estates is family owned by a father and son team, Thomas and Jeremy Baker, who seek to focus their world-class estate on site-specific Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in Healdsburg.
The wines are created from three vineyards – Baker Ridge, Starr Ridge and Cresta Ridge -each with its own micro-climate, soil type, exposure and vine age.
This particular label, the winemakers point out, features clones 777, Pommard, 114, 115 and Swan from all three of their estate vineyards, Baker Ridge (40%), Cresta Ridge (32%) and Starr Ridge (28%).
Aged for 11 months in 94% French oak, it is a wine that is well balanced, and offers aromatics and layers of varietal flavor. The wine is 14.3% alcohol and offers notes of red cherry and wild strawberry, It’s an elegant, floral wine that needs air and delivers a rich and satisfying experience. The suggested retail price for this Pinot Noir is $43.
We enjoyed this Pinot Noir for its elegance and flavor. Visit www.pasternakwine.com.