What’s the best red variety for South Africa? Bruwer Raats would vote for cabernet franc. Listen to him explain why in the above video.
His wine, made from 25-year-old, unirrigated vines and stylistically more St. Emilion than Saumur, is a strong example of cabernet franc with meaty, floral character with perky tannins. Unfortunately, Raats’ enthusiasm for the grape hasn’t been infectious: I only came across one other example of it as a varietal wine. But since I didn’t get to try the one from Buitenverwachting, this makes the Raats the best cabernet franc that I tasted from South Africa!
Raats also makes the Mvemve Raats de Compostella with Mzokhona Mvemve. A fuller-bodied wine than the straight cabernet franc, the 2009 manages to strike an alluring balance between fruit, acidity and tannin. And, true to his passion, it’s a quarter cabernet franc.