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.'
The word Dandelion, from Dente de Lion means 'Lion's Tooth'. From this vineyard, Elena co-ferments an almost forgotten but timeless blend of Shiraz and Riesling to enhance the wine's perfume and palate. They encourage the growth of dandelions in the vineyard as they suppress winter weeds and provide mulch in summer. Soils are sandy loam and Pirramimma sandstone.
Spring and early summer in 2015 were typically warm and very dry. However, the majority of January and early February were abnormally cool. This allowed the fruit to mature steadily and slowly, aiding the development of complex aromatics and flavours. Just prior to harvest, weather was very hot and dry, which meant the vintage kicked off a week earlier than normal. At harvest, the Shiraz showed excellent fruit, colour and tannin. The final result was precise, fresh and vibrant wines.
Flavour-ripe Shiraz grapes were hand harvested in late February, then fermented on their stalks in open fermenters on top of some Eden Valley Riesling skins for 11 days. The grapes were hand plunged twice daily, before basket pressed into 15% new and old French oak barriques. After 18 months maturation in the same oak, the wine was bottled without filtration or fining.
Deep red in colour with hints of violet. It had aromas of rose petals, lifted red fruits and a little lime marmalade from the co-fermentation with the aromatic Eden Valley Riesling. Wild cherries, blueberries and balanced spicy oak make for an opulent palate, with velvety tannins and an intriguing finish.