2008 Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella 


On my bucket list of wine-related things to do, apart from tasting the 1947 Romanée-Conti and climbing K2 with Lalou Bize-Leroy in order to overcome my debilitating vertigo, is to conduct an unabridged vertical of Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella. I well remember encountering this Bordeaux blend on my maiden trip to the Cape. I retained my poker face to disguise my elation upon tasting this wine, uncorking pent-up excitement to my driver, babbling on about how I had just tasted the best wine of my trip. I felt that the Raats Family’s own wines and this cooperation with winemaker Mzokhona Mvemve were world class in quality and I have never altered that view.

I was pleased to re-taste the 2008 MR de Compostella over lunch at High Timber restaurant in London. Served blind, I identified the wine and producer, but guessed a younger vintage because of its youthfulness. Indeed, it had hardly aged since I tasted it in 2011. A blend of 37.5% Cabernet Franc, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 7.5% Petit Verdot and 7.5% Merlot aged for 24 months in one-third new oak, it retains a limpid ruby hue with little ageing. The Cabernet Franc occupies the driving seat on the nose with plush but beautifully defined red fruit laced with rose petals, iodine (from the Petit Verdot?) and a scintilla of blueberry. Over the period of two hours, it gains more delineation and focus. The palate is beautifully balanced, as fresh as it was several years ago, that sweet core of red fruit, raspberry and cranberry, in situ with refined tannins and a seamless, almost melted and slightly ferrous finish that belies the structure. This has a 30-year lifespan and it’s only now beginning to show what it is capable of. If you cannot find what you’re looking for in the forthcoming en primeur releases, this alternative will give just as much pleasure. 96/Drink 2021-2038.