Wine of the Week 18: MR de Compostella 2021

Wine of the Week 18: MR de Compostella 2021

When the stars align…

Under the cool celestial gaze of the 2021 growing season at Raats Family Wines, select pockets of Bordeaux varieties ripened slower than usual, the icy nights concentrating acidities, stitching in age-worthy structure. When the morning sun beamed in, flavours concentrated, fruit deepened. The conditions in concert for one of the greatest South African vintages in recent history.

A vintage friendship

Now in its 11th vintage, MR de Compostella is the ultra-premium project of longtime friends Mzokhona Mvemve and Bruwer Raats, from where the ‘MR’ of the de Compostella originates. Compostella means “field of stars” and refers to the brilliant bridge of the Milky Way as it arches over our southern skies. Bringing it down to earth the name describes the meticulous method in which the wine is produced.

Raats Mr De Compostella Views

It starts, of course, in those star-washed vineyards. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, malbec and the house’s speciality, cabernet franc are all planted in divergent pockets of soils, which the varieties are most suited to. The most unique of which is the dolomitic-granite, star-dust itself.

“This means we have a lot of small parcels in our vineyards,” explains Raats. “Sometimes there will be a row or two of cabernet sauvignon in the far left corner, or some malbec in a specific right-hand corner. It’s not exactly practical, but it’s the only way we can make magic happen.”

A meticulous process

Raats Mr De Compostella Wine Maker

Once harvested each component is matured in separate barrels. Mzokhona and Bruwer then set to the task of fastidiously blind tasting and scoring each wine individually. The process is surgical, precise; sculpting and cutting through reams of fruit and wood; a vinous masonry until the ultimate expression of the vintage reveals itself.

The track record of MR de Compostella speaks for itself, consistently highly rated and awarded by top international and local critics alike, and the 2021 may just be the best one yet.

MR de Compostella 2021

Raats Mr De Compostella Wine

Here is the wood of violins, a hint of resin to its freshly sanded essence. A curl of a salty wave, kelp and iodine; cresting into the perfume of black cherries, incense made of midnight roses. This is music. Keyed in perfect harmony cabernet franc (26%), cabernet sauvignon (35%), malbec (17%), merlot (20%) and petit verdot (2%) are in concert, rising and falling in rhythm, melting and folding along a tight inner core, like dark ribbons of satiny fruit. Pitched at 14% alcohol, the relatively medium body allows this intensity a levity and freshness, grounded in those stone-chiselled tannins that promise years of evolution to come.
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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 06 December 2023