Saturday, May 17, 2008

Raats Cabernet Franc 2006

So last night I finally got around to working on my sample wines and first up – for pairing with sun-dried tomato sausages, Spanish rice and steamed broccoli – was the Raats Cabernet Franc 2006 ($23.99). Now I am a huge fan of Cabernet Franc, but I know that there really is no middle ground for Cab Franc to exist – it’s either really good or really bad. So much to my delight, this one was a hit – with dinner too.

Raats Family Wines is a producer hailing from the Stellenbosch appellation of South Africa, and South Africa is not really all that known for Cab Franc, so this one appealed to me before ever trying it. What sold me, and what usually sells me on South African wine, is the importer. Raats comes to the U.S. through Cape Classics, an importer of solely South African wines, with a stunning reputation for bringing to our shores some of the best that South Africa has to offer, so the Raats Cabernet Franc 2006 had some expectations to fulfill without even opening the bottle.

Upon smelling the wine, I picked up lots of blackberry and black cherry notes, with just a hint of red flowers and baking spice. Though somewhat subtle, the aromas were more seductive, not bombastic. The flavors that followed were black fruits, tobacco, cocoa and mineral with slight tinges of hickory smoke. The flavors were elegant, never explosive, and the finish was long and satisfying. And it actually married extremely well with dinner, another huge plus.

All-in-all, the Raats Cabernet Franc 2006 is a remarkable wine, something for the more adventurous wine drinker, that will fare well with a bit of aging (5 or so years) or just some brief decanting.

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