My favourite collaboration is an intimate one between brands who share a passion for their product, values and dedication. This was evident on 13 September when Raats Family Wine Estate & Pride of India joined forces to showcase the range of Raats wines. An intimate dinner at the Pride of India private dining room was the venue for the tasting and pairing of bespoke wine with bespoke curry dishes.
The Raats Family Wine Estate embarked on a “brand exploration” with various restaurants introducing their wine exploration range with different cuisines. We were lucky enough to experience our favourite cuisine with their selection of red and white wines as well as (Winemaker and Viticulturist) Bruwer Raats’ personal favourite “Jasper”.
About the Wine Estate
Raats Family Wine Estate is famed for their Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc wines. They pride themselves on forward-thinking wine production and producing wines of international quality.
Originally a partnership between brothers Bruwer and Jasper Raats, with their father Jasper Snr as viticulturist that passed away in 2009. Cousin, Gavin Bruwer Slabbert joined Bruwer as Winemaker and Viticulturist in 2009 and this relationship has seen Raats Family Wines flourished.
Bruwer spent time at esteemed Blaauwklippen, Delaire and Zorgvliet estates before his commitment to build the Raats Family brand full time. His intense and personal devotion has seen Raats Family Wines evolve into a New World leader in the production of these varietals, which many international critics consider benchmarks.
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. We source from vines on average 25 years old, grown 250m above sea level – perfect!” All grapes are handpicked and wines made with his extensive knowledge and attention to detail. The result is a truly distinctive showcase for South African wine and soil.
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.”
About Pride of India
Pride of India relocated to Waterkloof Heights, to the infamous “Ritrovo” venue, but nestled in quite nicely with their own flair and brand identity. Patrons of Pride of India still frequent the restaurant like family-friends and Mitesh (fondly known as Mitch) Bhima and his lovely wife Poonam plays host to daily.
The venue lends itself to different styles of entertaining; from romantic dinners in a candlelit cellar to special events in the private dining room. The wine cellar is exceptional and boasts rare finds which Mitch collects fondly for his patrons.
As many other established restaurants in Pretoria, Mitch also serves craft gin cocktails and takes pride in an extensive selection of dishes which is created using traditional methods but with a modern twist.
About the food and wine
Dubbed as a Raats Gourmet Food & Wine experience the evening kicked off with the infamous Harlem to Hope (blend of Chenin Blanc, Semillon & Muscat d’ Alexandria). All the varietals are handled separately. Crushing and de-stemming occurs before the grapes are pressed and then allowed to settle in stainless steel tanks. The juice is inoculated and allowed to lie on the lees, and then final blending occurs before botteling.
The Paneer Chilli Bruschetta, served as the appetizer, was a taster of the feast to follow; homemade cottage cheese (paneer) served with onion and green pepper marinated and served in a sweet and sour sauce (jokingly referred to as “Waterkloof Bunny chow” by Chef-Owner Mitch). The spicy undertone of the sweet and sour sauce was beautifully offset by the distinctive citrus and pineapple notes of the Raats Harlem to Hope.
Wine notes – Harlem to Hope
The wines bouquet is well balanced with fruit, spice and perfume. Peach skin, nectarine, ginger and yellow flowers. the depth of waxy, fruity complexity follows through on to the palate, wound together by a tightknit backbone of vibrant acidity giving tension and excitement all at once.
After an informative introduction to the Raats team, and their philosophy of “no fancy and hidden secrets” in their production of quality wine whereby the essence of the vineyard is tasted and evident in the bottle.
The fragrant Tandoor Kingklip, scented with fenugreek and infused with curry leaves and served with a lime zest crumble was the starter course. Beautifully presented on interesting textured tiles and a lingering fragrant scent. The complex, yet, sophisticated dish was served with the Raats Reservoir Road Pinot Noir.
Wine notes – Reservoir Road Pinot Noir
Blackberry and cherries are well defined, integrated with delicate violets. While savoury flavours of fragrant spices gives depth to the wine.
Also described as “a lovely weeknight wine to have with most meals” by The NYC Kitchen blog, written by Tracey Ceurvels.
What makes this wine such a gem is the fact that the grape varietal is extremely challenging to grow and therefore a great quality Pinot Noir is a rare find. This Raats Reservoir Road Pinot Noir is a juicy and delicious product of bushvines and a very concentrated low yield.
Taking you on an odyssey of flavours and tastes, the next course (first main course) was an Old Delhi-style Butter Chicken (cooked on the bone) served with homemade Naan bread. This course was elegantly paired with the iconic Raats Family Red Jasper. The average vine age is at least 25 years old of and consists of a blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Merlot. Bruwer mentioned that he rarely leaves the farm without taking a bottle of Red Jasper to accompany his journey, as this is his personal favourite.
Wine notes – Raats Family Red Jasper
The Raats Family Red Jasper is exceptionally intense and complex on the nose with blackberry, black cherry and bramble in abundance and subtle hints of forest floor, dark chocolate, aniseed and spicy tobacco. The walk in the Black Forest continues with blue – and blackberry dancing on a tight rope with focus and concentration, following through onto a perfectly balanced, fine-grained, velvety palate. The finish lingers with hints of fresh mint, cinnamon and perfume. Complex and structured, a true iron fist in a silky glove.
That silky glove will have to be the expertly prepared Butter Chicken which fell off the bone and was enrobed in a rich sauce, served with fresh sweet and slightly sticky Naan bread on the sides. A meal I would happily call upon as my last meal, ever. The preparation of the chicken “on the bone” added a depth of flavour and homeliness which can only be associated with the cuisine of the orient.
The second main course, Lamb Masala, spiced with the secret house-blend of garam masala and slow-cooked to perfection was served with the Raats Family Cabernet Franc. The de-boned leg of lamb was cooked in a clove and masala flavour; a unique preparation by Chef Jaipal Singh.
Wine notes – Raats Family Cabernet Franc
Intense brooding blackberry fruit, graphite and a streak of minerality add to the complexity of the nose. The palate is dominated by blueberry, mulberry, brambles, dark cherries, liquorice and the aniseed and other spices following through from the nose. The palate is complex and textured with fine grained silky tannins balancing the dark berry fruit with a touch of herbaceous gusto.
The silky tannins and deep, dark berry undertone, was expertly balanced by the spices and served with flavoured rice, sprinkled with fresh coriander.
A rich Indian dessert made with fresh carrots, nuts, milk and sugar encapsulated within the generous amount of ghee added, that is the description of the decadent Carrot Halwa served as the final course on the exploration. The complexity and richness of the Carrot Halwa, served slightly warm, was perfumed and enhanced by the Muscat d’ Alexandria was made with minimal intervention, a complete dry style, effortlessly expressing the beauty of this African variety.
Wine notes – Muscat d’ Alexandria
A uniquely 100% Muscat d’Alexandrie wine, which possesses a perfume of rose petals and orange blossom, is well balanced with lime, litchi and pear. The delicate palate, leads you further down a path of new discovery and shows subtle tangerine that lingers. Fresh acidity caresses the palate and gives length to this special wine.
Muscat d’ Alexandrie has its origins in ancient Egypt. The vines were first brought to the Cape of Good Hope, in the mid 1600’s, by the early Dutch settlers. Throughout the following centuries, the variety has played a very important role, in grape growing in the Cape.
The dining experience was warm and welcoming; like dining in a family-friend’s house with bloody good wine.
The illusive Mvemve Raats de Compostella was proudly displayed on the side table during the dinner, only for a select vino-aficionado which can appreciate (and afford) the unique blend of Cabernet Franc (main variety), Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot & Petit Verdot crafted by the winemakers, Mzokhona Mvemve (proud namesake) and Bruwer Raats. Exceptional effort in the aging means that each variety spent 12 months in barrel as a single variety wine before the wines were blended. Thereafter the blended wine was matured for another 12 months, giving a total of 24 months in barrel, a third of which was in new French Oak, a further third in 2nd fill and a final third in 3rd fill French oak barrels. The extensive aging results in the wine can mature over 10 to 15 years if cellered correctly.
Watch Buwer Raats and Mzokona Mvemve share their passion about the creation of one of South Africa’s fines red wines:
Pride of India is an ideal venue for casual dining, corporate functions or even year-end functions (especially in the private dining room) where family-style dishes can be served communally or Chef-Owner Mitch can conjure up an intricate tapas-style meal with the flair of fine dining.
Be sure to plan your visit to Pride of India, and make sure you have enough time for a leisurely visit, with a sunset over Waterkloof which will rival any multistory mansion situated in the green belt of Waterkloof Ridge.
Pride of India contact details:
Physical Address: 103 Club Avenue, Waterkloof Heights, Pretoria (Tshwane)
Telephone: +27(0)12 346 3684
Directions: From Justice Mahomed Street, take 15th Street to Brooklyn Road. Continue with Brooklyn Road until it becomes Dely Road. Turn right into Drakensberg Road. Turn right into Club Avenue. The destination will be on the left.
Please note that they are now open on Sundays.
|Tuesday – Saturday:||11h30 to 22h00|
|Sunday:||11h30 to 15h30|
Raats Family Wines Contact Details
Should you want to order Raats Family wines; contact a South-African or International representative to place your order.