The marketing blurb states that no history of the Barossa is complete without mentioning Saltram. And indeed, for over 150 years, Saltram have been part of the Barossa Valley. William Salter settled in the Barossa Valley in 1859 and after planting 10 acres of Shiraz with his son, had their first vintage in 1862, pumping out 8000 litres. The label name “Mamre Brook” comes from the homestead of the vineyard. By 1891 they’d grown to 182,000 litres to become well and truly established as a big player in the export market sending plenty of booze overseas. In between then and now, many famous names have been involved with the brand, such as Lehmann, Birk and Hardy. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the brand lurched left and right whilst ownership and management struggled for direction until Nigel Dolan, (who had been born at Mamre Brook house whilst his father Brian had been senior winemaker and general manager) returned to become head winemaker in 1992 and was determined to take Saltram back to its Barossa roots. He held the mantle until current senior winemaker Shavaughn Wells was appointed in 2008 and has been steadily accruing trophies and silverware. The reds definitely speak of place and elegance.
Saltram Mamre Brook, Eden Valley, Riesling, 2014
Good riesling nose: Green apples and steel. Waxy lemon and lime rind. All the right things that you want to smell. Quite delicious as expected palate: Friendly limey citrus that isn’t too austere. There’s a perfumed sweetness, not dissimilar to a rosewater-esque Gewurztraminer that lingers. Delivers exactly it says on the label, with strong acidity to give it frame work for ageing. I want more from this, but it’s perfectly serviceable in remnants of warm Sunday sunshine for a lunch date.
Saltram Mamre Brook, Eden Valley, Chardonnay, 2014
First thing that jumps out is the nutty oak and sandalwood. Stone fruit skin and kernel and wet straw. A sweet vanilla lift and white blossoms give a much needed delicate polish.
Raw on the palate. Gripping all as it surrounds the mouth. Grapefruit citrus and lemon tart, it sees the mineral rocky quartz dominate the back palate. This is a fuller expression of Chardonnay that for moment is still needing time to let that oak blow off and that lovely subtle bittersweet fruit come to the fore. 2 years should do it.
Saltram Mamre Brook, Barossa Valley, Shiraz, 2012
Here we go round the mulberry bush (or tree in this case). Coffee granules and perfumed, almost pastille black fruits. Spiced oak gives nutty counterpoint to the fruit driven plumpness.
Fleshy, dense juice that takes its time oozing down the insides of the glass. Dark blackberry and prune come to the fore with fine sandy tannins. A distinct savoury bent to the expected Barossa plushness. There’s a tinge of residual heat from the alcohol, but this is no jammy monster. A wine that definitely makes you want a second glass.
Saltram Mamre Brook, Barossa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010
This smells like big globs of homemade blackberry jam spooned on top of a still warm, flour dusted fresh scone with a smear of double whipped cream that you’ve just bought from the CWA stall on a Sunday Farmer’s market. Plenty of dark Lindt Chocolate marries well with that slightly sweet Barossan concentrated full weight, yet retains an elegance. Stains the tongue (and glass) with deep purple/black flavours of a winter’s night. Compelling amounts of fine tannins give muscularity. A little bit of age has left this perfect for drinking now.
All wine samples courtesy of Saltram Wines