You may remember that I reported back from my trip to South Africa last May that among the reds it was the Bordeaux blends that were particularly impressive. Here is particularly good value proof.
Brampton started off life as recently as 1996 as the second label of much-admired South African wine producer Rustenberg (which can trace its history back to 1682!). Vineyards were being replanted so they needed a name for selling the produce of bought-in fruit. But the wines have managed to establish a fine reputation on their own account and sit quite happily alongside the much more expensive and revered Rustenberg bottlings Peter Barlow and John X Merriman. The proportion of home vineyard fruit used is steadily increasing and the wines are all given very decent oak aging with some malolactic in small barrel.
I tasted this wine blind in a line-up for British Airways First Class the other day and was most impressed (by the second bottle; the first had slight TCA, the bane of the modern winemaker). It was one of my favourites alongside wines costing far more and the only reason we didn't choose it for First was that we felt some passengers might feel the name (not the wine) wasn't grand enough.
It's very fresh and ripe yet has nice biscuity depth due, I imagine, to a some bottle aging effect. This is just the sort of wine, among hundreds, to send shivers round Bordeaux which, to my knowledge, finds it hard to produce this much sheer drinking pleasure at this price.
In the UK it usually retails for £7.99 a bottle from the likes of Hedley Wright, Great Grog and Seckfords for an even better price - although they are fast moving on to 2002, an altogether more opulent, earlier-maturing vintage which, depending on your personal taste, you might even prefer.
Good ol' www.rustenberg.co.za.