To produce the Shiraz/Riesling “Lion’s Tooth of McLaren Vale” Dandelion Vineyards, the Shiraz grapes were hand harvested and whole-bunch fermented with stalks, in open fermenters on top of Riesling skins for 11 days. The cap was hand plunged twice daily before being gently pressed into a mix of new and old French oak barriques to complete fermentation. The wine remained in barrel for 18 months before being racked and bottled without filtration or fining.
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.
Dandelion Vineyards is the venture of self-titled ‘typist’ Zar Brooks and his winemaking wife Elena, with wines made from the Barossa and Eden Valleys, Fleurieu, the Adelaide Hills 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 across that blessed curve that runs from the Barossa, up through the Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills and down into McLaren Vale.”