Friday, May 18, 2007

MR de compostella 2004

Yesterday I had Garech Byrne from Orbital wines come in with a selection of funky South African wines for me to try. Garech introduced me to Stormhoek last year and Raats family wines as well as the wines of Jack & Knox. This time he had some updated vintages for me to try and a couple of new wines. One of them was just outstanding, and Im hoping to get my hands on some before they all go.

MR de compostella is a bordeaux blend with a slight difference. 33% Cab Franc, 18% Petit Verdot, 17% Malbec, 16% Cab Sauv and 16% Merlot. Oddly enough when I tried the wine is did kind of remind me of a wine from California. Micheal Havens makes a wine called Bouriquot which is his homage to Cheval Blanc ( Bouriquot means little donkey) which is of course Cab Franc dominated.

The wine is a collaborative venture between two friends and winemakers. Bruwer Raats of Raats Family wines and Mzokhona Mvemve of Sagila. Aparently Mzokhona completed part of his Oenology degree from the Stellenbosch University with Bruwer and they became firm friends. They made only six barrels of wine - some 1700 bottles. The wine is currently only available through the Raats cellar door, where their entire allocation sold out in a mere seven weeks. The 2005 vintage is a similar blend and has the same low production run. That is expected to sell out even quicker, and the very limited allocation that came to the UK is to be offered to those who supported the maiden vintage. I plan to be part of that offering.

So what is it like. It has a very vibrant nose - cassis, victoria plums and brambles with layers of dark chocolate and hints of tar add a feral spiceyness to the very savoury aromas of the wine. On the palate it is very elegant, smoother than I was expecting with rich layers of dark soft fruits. There is a slightly herbaceous character on the palate which I thought was a bit thyme like and a mellow underspice - just a hint of cinnamon and perhaps a taste of star anise. The length is very supple, the tannins teasing the gums - bearing in mind this was tasted straight from opening, without decanting it - it was very graceful. I think that I would decant this wine to allow the fruit and integrated aromas the best opportunity to develop. Garech left the bottle with me, and having gone back to it tonight, it is so much richer, warmer in flavour and the fruit just bursts with ripeness while the tarry edge seems to have mellowed out considerably. Having said that there is more of a hint of chinese plum sauce and ribs about the wine tonight which adds to the appeal and isnt half making me feel hungry!!

I need to persuade Ross to allow me to get three bottles so that I can get on the ladder for next year. This is definately the beginning of the South African wine revolution, and if this wine is anything to go by the future for South African wines is going to be very rosy indeed. Go on, treat yourself!