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 traditional and 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.
Flavour-ripe Shiraz grapes were hand harvested in the first week of March, then fermented on their stalks in open fermenters on top of some Riesling skins for 11 days. The grapes were hand plunged twice daily, before basket pressing into 15% new and older French oak barriques. After 18 months' maturation in the same oak, the wine was bottled without filtration or fining.
Deep red in colour with youthful violet hints, the wine has aromas of rose petals, lifted red fruits and a hint of 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.