The Wine of the week: South African Chenin Blanc 2018

RAATS, Stellenbosch, South Africa
2018 Old Vine Chenin Blanc
$39.99 (6 btls/cs)

Bruwer and Gavin Raats are the guys that you want to invite to your party. Incidentally, they’re the guys that you want to be making your Chenin Blanc. Since 2000, Bruwer has exclusively made Chenin Blanc and (later) Cabernet Franc. He’s adamant that Chenin is the way forward for South Africa and has established an enviable reputation as the New World benchmark for the grape. In 2010, he was joined by his cousin Gavin at the family winery. The pair, both former rugby players, had the same goal: to create distinctly South African wines of the highest quality by specializing and by matching grapes to soil.

Chenin Blanc is the star white grape of France’s Loire Valley. But more and more, Chenin lovers are branching out from reliable Vouvray and Savennières to explore exciting new-world examples in South Africa. Historically, it was used for cheap table wines and brandy but in the nineties a few producers started to get serious about Chenin. Early examples were sometimes clumsy and over-oaked but thirty years on, the pendulum has swung in the other direction. The best wines balance new world fruit, site-specific terroir, and elegance from higher-elevation sites. Bruwer works with low-yielding 40+ year-old vines in Stellenbosch and blends wine from different soil types to achieve his preferred style. Dolomitic limestone produces fresh, citrussy, mineral juice, whereas Table Mountain sandstone produces riper wines with weight and structure. Raats blends to two together to produce modern wines that are still totally refined.

The Original Chenin Blanc (also in stock) is a bright, crisp, unoaked version. The Old Vine Chenin is a step up, with more palate weight, depth, and texture.

Fermented 50/50 in stainless steel and 500L barrel. Aged for 11 months before being blended together.

Winemaker’s Note:
Offers a complex nose of quince, white peach and yellow apple, with fenugreek spices giving dimension alongside the mineral intensity of the wine. The stone fruit character follows through onto an exceptionally balanced, very delicate and fine textured palate showing a peach-melba character with an exquisite length and freshness. The wine lingers with hints of ripe nectarine and apricot, zesty lemon and wet chalk.

93 Points, Tim Atkin MW (review for 2017 vintage)
Impressive value from this Chenin-focussed winery, combining oaked and unoaked portions. Beeswax and spices are complemented by notes of aniseed, citrus and an undertone of nectarine sweetness.





To order, please send an e-mail to or call Michelle at 416-779-4101.

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