raats family wines
Locale: Stellenbosch, South Africa
Originally a partnership between brothers Bruwer and Jasper Raats, with their late father Jasper Senior as viticulturist, the Raats family mission is to consistently produce Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc of outstanding quality from South Africa and to establish these wines as international benchmarks. The Raats family lives for and dreams about these two varieties and passionately produces wines they believe are truly distinct from old vineyards in the Stellenbosch area east of Cape Town. They have earned a reputation internationally as a New World leader in the production of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
A great deal of effort has gone into sourcing specific soil types and old, low-yielding vineyards located in the Stellenbosch, Paarl, Durbanville Hills, and the Paardeberg area. “The best viticultural soil for Chenin Blanc in all the land is undoubtedly located in and around Stellenbosch. They source from vines on average 25 years old, grown 250 m above sea level. All grapes are handpicked and the wines made with his extensive knowledge and attention to detail. The result is a truly distinctive showcase for South African wine and soil."
Cousin Gavin Bruwer Slabbert joined Bruwer Raats as Winemaker and Viticulturist in 2009 and this relationship has seen Raats Family Wines flourish. Bruwer travels to the US and Europe each year to visit top restaurants and loyal customers, and believes that personal relationships with the sellers of his wines are vital. “Because our wines should essentially be enjoyed in the company of good food by people appreciative of the passion and dedication that go into the making thereof.”
All the efforts have paid off. Raats Family Wines are enjoyed in the UK, USA, Canada and Europe and their wines are consistently top-rated by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Decanter, Wine & Spirits, Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate magazines.
Website: raats family wines
Locale: South Africa
Born and raised in France to a family of Calvados producers, Christophe Durand moved to Cape Town in 1995. Beginning as a supplier of premium French wine barrels and very much involved in winemaking, it was only a matter of time before he brought together his knowledge and passion for fines wines into creating his own.
To achieve perfect expression of the terroir, Christophe relies on unique vineyard sites, early picking and rigorous sorting to bring in,”beautiful, healthy berries which shape a more balanced wine with a low PH, higher natural acidity and lower alcohol.” Christophe believes strongly in true tradition, and his philosophy is to interact as little as possible with the grapes. All pickings are done manually in light boxes and brought to the cellar where a meticulous selection is carried out. Alcoholic fermentation occurs with the temperature closely monitored.
For the whites - all bunches are pressed, left for 24 hours to settle nicely, then racked straight into 225 litre Burgundian barrels where the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation will occur. For the reds - partially de-stemmed with alcoholic fermentation occuring in open-topped fermenters during a period of two weeks with punch down twice a day. Aging is done 100% in barrels, 11 months for the whites and 18 months for the reds. All whites are kept on clean lees with regular battonage and soft filtration before bottling. The reds are also kept on primary lees, with no filtration, with only a white egg fining done two months before bottling.
Dorrance Wines recently unveiled their new urban wine cellar and tasting room located in the Heritage Square, one of Cape Town’s most iconic buildings. The narrow doorways, exposed granite walls, dimly-lit rows of barriques and an old forge provide the perfect old world setting for a unique City Winery. Wine enthusiasts can now experience Dorrance’s winemaking philosophy and interact with the people behind the brand.