It's readily apparent that hot, dry, challenging seasons like 2008 are bound to become a common occurrence in the future of the Barossa Valley (my apologies in regards to what happened in the region on Tuesday night!), in which case, winemakers would do well to invest in new styles to tackle the ever changing climatic conditions. If Shavaughn Wells' 2008 Winemaker's Selection is anything to go by, then shiraz tempranillo blends look a commendable choice. It's a 65/35 blend, aged in 100% French oak (25% new) for 10 months.
Throwing up heady scents of dusty, exotic spices and violet florals, Saltram's 2008 immediately proclaims its tempranillo influence (after a stint in the decanter that is), which is beautifully beefed up by a deeply set array of classically Barossan, old-vine shiraz fruit aromas; licorice/aniseed, black plums and forest berries, all meshed with melted chocolate. Smooth, silky and downright sensuous, its palate presents an evenly styled length of well ripened, harmonious flavours that are admittedly much more shiraz-like than tempranillo, but it's altogether rich and wholesome in the truest regional sense. As its deep flavours are lifted through the back palate by an agreeably lithe, stringy acid structure beset with firm tannins, a rather ripe hint of spicy date rears its head, but its balanced finish remains undisrupted; composed and regal, with not a hair out of place.
ü+ So, so close to perfect. A touch more savoury accent, spice and tempranillo tickle and it would've been there. I wonder whether it was held back by the sumptuous nature of Barossa reds, the hot 2008 season, or something completely different altogether. My mind is keenly tuned to the future on this one. Drink to 2018.