Dandelion Vineyards is the venture of self-titled 'typist' Zar Brooks, his winemaking wife Elena and growers Carl Lindner and Brad Rey, with wines made from the Barossa and Eden Valleys, Fleurieu and McLaren Vale. Nick Stock, one of Australia's leading journalists, has described Dandelion as follows: "Brooks has teamed up with his winemaking wife Elena, a woman whose talents are outweighed only by her tolerance, in an exciting new venture called Dandelion Vineyards. The approach is remarkably simple and sees Elena making wine from a suite of beautiful old vineyards identified by Carl Lindner and Brad Rey across that blessed curve that runs from the Barossa, up through the Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills and down into McLaren Vale".
Named after Barossa’s lifelong champion of old vines, Carl Lindner, the grapes for this Shiraz come from an old vine vineyard in the Barossa where the vines are over a 100-years-old, many on their original rootstock. Throughout their vineyards they encourage the humble dandelion amongst the vines as they suppress winter weeds and provide mulch in summer.
The 2016/17 growing season was one of the wettest on record with harvest taking place four weeks later than the 2016 vintage. The wet soils combined with a cooler than average spring and early summer meant the vines grew slowly but healthily. Well-timed rains in late January/early February were followed by a return to dry conditions and the beginning of an Indian summer from March to late April which was perfect for ripening grapes and natural acidity.
Whole bunches were hand harvested, gently crushed and naturally fermented in open fermenters for eight days. The cap was hand plunged twice a day before the fruit was carefully pressed off the skins using a basket press into a mix of new and previously filled French oak barriques to finish fermentation. After 18 months maturation and a racking in the same oak, the wine was bottled without filtration or fining, to capture the essence of the vines.
This wine is intense crimson in colour, with a youthful purple hue. On the nose, it has lifted aromas of ripe blackberries, blueberries, spicy pepper notes and Christmas pudding-like spices. Generous, mouth-filling sweet blackberries, raspberries and plums are pronounced on the palate, with sweet spice. It has firm, but fine, tannins and dark chocolate nuances continue onto the lengthy palate.