In a nutshell: An intense, berry fruit laden Shiraz from South Australia's Barossa Valley.
The lowdown: Elena Brooks has proved herself as a talented winemaker and this Shiraz, one of the their flagship wines, stands out as the perfect example. The grapes come from a vineyard where many of the vines exceed 100 years of age, so old some remain on their own rootstocks. After a natural fermentation the wine was matured for 18 months in a mix of new and previously filled French oak barriques and then bottled without filtration or fining. It's full of bold black fruits, eucalyptus and liquorice on the nose while rich, sweet wine gum fruit, spice, pepper and mocha notes play on the tongue. It's deliciously supple with a smooth mouthfeel and fine, grippy tannins following right to the lingering finish.
When to drink: Really impressive Aussie Shiraz at a remarkably good price. Great with big meaty dishes, roasts, hearty stews or barbecues.
Dandelion Vineyards is a venture created by Zar Brooks and his winemaking wife Elena, together with Carl Linder and Brad Rey. They have a range of South Australia vineyard sites from the Eden and Barossa valleys down to the Fleurieu peninsula from where they make their well regarded wines.
Nick Stock, one of Australias 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." The 'blessed curve' that Nick refers to is at the heart of what Dandelion does.
For a relative newcomer winemaker Elena has achieved, in a short space of time, a remarkable degree of success which has helped to put Dandelion firmly on the map. Something that was recognised ealry on when she won Winemaker of the Show at the 2014 Barossa Wine Show. Since then they've continued to go from strength to strength with their range of wines which contnue to remain notably good value for money.