Dandelion Vineyards

Dandelion Vineyards was started by Bulgarian born winemaker Elena Brooks and her husband Zar. They grow their own grapes as well as source fabulous old vine fruit from some of the finest family vineyards in Barossa, McLaren Vale, and Eden Valley. Their wines represent decades of experience, blending the fruit of the heirloom vineyards with the finest traditions of artisan winemaking. Their aim is to express the terroir of each specific vineyard site. "Dandelion is one the new producers now entering the market, whose wines have developed an impassioned following. Elena Brooks is one of the new generation of star winemakers working in the Barossa and McLaren Vale." Lettie Teague - Wall Street Journal

Menagerie of the Barossa

Winemaker, Elena Brooks and her de facto husband, Zar Brooks have put together one of the most impressive lineups of booze in the entire country. At the end of Zar & Elena’s old vine garden path there is a historic ‘Menagerie’ of three grape varieties, adjoining blocks of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataró at Gomersal in the Barossa.

 

After hand picking selected bunches of our Menagerie field blend on the 14th of March our winemaker Elena Brooks let the whole bunches ferment together in open top fermenters with ambient or ‘other people’s’ yeasts for 14 days, before basket pressing in old French Oak barriques. This second vintage of Menagerie of the Barossa has a high level of natural acidity, a pH 3.49 and is bone dry. The wine was then matured for a further 12 months in the same oak, before bottling without fining or filtration to capture the essence of the vinous Menagerie of the Barossa.

 

Region: Barossa Valley
Varietal: 80% Grenache - 15% Syrah - 5% Mataró
Vintage: 2012
Vine Age: 42 years old
Yield: 1.9 tons per acre
Soil Type: Red Clay over Ironstone & Limestone
TA: 5.93 g/L
pH: 3.49
Residual Sugar: .1%
Alcohol: 14.5%
Oak: 12 months in seasoned French barrique
Production: 900 cases

Reviews:

"Medium garnet-purple in color, the 2012 Menagerie of the Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mataro presents aromas of warm mulberries, kirsch and red currant jelly highlighted by hints of garrigue, dried herbs and pepper. Medium to full-bodied with mouth-filling red berry preserve, pepper and baking spice flavors, it has a medium level of velvety tannins and a lively acid line carrying the fruit to a long finish. Drink it now to 2018+. " ~ 90+, Wine Advocate May 2014

 

"(80% grenache, 15% shiraz and 5% mataro): Bright purple. Aromas of red and dark berries, licorice and rose are complicated by a peppery nuance and a hint of allspice. Dense, round and supple, with very good depth to its flavors of black raspberry and cola. Shows an appealing sweetness on the finish, which features plush tannins and a hint of smokiness." ~ 90, Vinous July 2014

Price: Fl $176.00, 2cs $168.00, 3cs $160.00
 
'Legacy of the Barossa' Pedro Ximenez

The wish is to nurture the unique character of these extremely old (X.O.) Pedro Ximinez vines, to capture them perfectly from barrel. The 'Legacy of the Barossa' is vigneron and lifelong champion of old vines and fortified wines, Carl Lindner.

 

Traditionally grown and vinified, the now rare Pedro Ximinéz was first fortified by his family in 1944 and now averages 30 years of age. This wine is hand blended and bottled without fining or filtration. The total residual sugar is 186 grams per liter...though the high acidity makes this a remarkable wine for a cheese course or savory dessert.

 

Region: Barossa Valley
Varietal: 100% Pedro Ximenez
Vintage: NV
Vineyard: Carl Lindner's Barossa Vineyard
Vine Age: 80 years old
Yield: 2.4 tons per acre
Soil Type: Red Clay over Limestone
Oak: Solera of 30 years in seasoned American & French barrique
Production: 500 cases

Reviews:

"Pale amber color with a nose of hazelnuts, dried figs, sultanas and dates plus hints of brine and dusty earth, the NV Legacy of the Barossa 30 Year Old Pedros Ximinez is very sweet, unctuous and full in the mouth with a great concentration of nutty dried fruit flavors, a wonderful backbone of refreshing acid, and a very long finish. This is a beautifully balanced fortified wine and ready to drink now. " ~ 93, Wine Advocate February 2013

 

"Amber-orange. Toffee, candied orange and cherry pit on the nose, with a hint of smoke and slow-building spiciness. Juicy, palate-staining red fruit and molasses flavors show surprising energy and a touch of gingerbread. Very sweet but also focused, with strong grip and spice notes on the long, clinging finish. This would be superb with nut-based desserts or decadent, triple-cream cheeses such as Explorateur, Pierre Robert or Brillat-Savarin." ~ 91, Vinous July 2011

Price: Fl $180
 
Wonderland Riesling

Winemaker, Elena Brooks and her de facto husband, Zar Brooks have put together one of the most impressive lineups of booze in the entire country. The fruit for this wine comes from a 100-year-old Riesling vineyard. Old Vines say you? The bunches for Dandelion’s Riesling are chosen virtually one at a time to ensure perfect ripeness. This wine has the minerality and grip of the Mosel or Rhiengau.

 

Region: Eden Valley
Varietal: 100% Riesling
Vintage: 2012
Vineyard: Colin Kroehn's Vineyard
Vine Age: 100 years old
Yield: 1.9 tons per acre
Soil Type: Slate over Light Clay
TA: 7.5 grams per liter
pH: 3.01
Residual Sugar: 1.3 grams per liter
Alcohol: 12.5%
Oak: None - Stainless Steel
Production: 400 cases

Reviews:
Price: Fl $176.00, 3cs $168.00,
 
Lionheart Shiraz

Winemaker, Elena Brooks and her de facto husband, Zar Brooks have put together one of the most impressive lineups of booze in the entire country. This is all old vine Barossa Shiraz from an estate vineyard. These ancient, gnarled vines, many over a hundred years of age, are not only surviving but thriving on their own roots in some of the oldest soils on the planet.

 

In the last two weeks of March whole bunches of Shiraz were hand harvested, then gently crushed and naturally fermented in open fermenters for eight days, hand plunged twice a day, before careful basket pressing into new (25%) and older French Barriques to finish fermentation. After 18 months maturation and a racking in the same oak, Lionheart was bottled without filtration or fining, to capture the essence the vines.

 

Region: Barossa Valley
Varietal: 100% Shiraz
Vintage: 2011
Vineyard: Carl Lindner's God's Hill Vineyard
Vine Age: 87 years old
Yield: 1.4 tons per acre
Soil Type: Clay & Ironstone
Oak: 18 months in French barriques (25% new)
Production: 1,000 cases

Reviews:

“Deep purple-black in color, with aromas of black plums and freshly crushed black currants over pepper, charcoal, tar and earth. it shows off plenty of expressive berry & earth flavors, with grainy tannins, and a refreshing lift in the long finish.” ~ 94, James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion

Price: Fl $176.00, 2cs $168.00
 
Lion's Tooth Shiraz/Riesling

The grapes are co-fermented to achieve an almost forgotten but timeless blend of Shiraz and Riesling. The fruit was hand picked and then the Shiraz (whole bunch) was gently crushed and naturally fermented using non-cultured yeasts in open top fermentors over Riesling skins for seven days, hand plunged twice a day before pressing into barrel.

 

Region: McLaren Vale
Varietal: 95% Shiraz - 5% Riesling
Vintage: 2010
Vineyard: Nat McMurtrie's Vineyard
Vine Age: 18 years old
Yield: 3.1 tons per acre
Soil Type: Sandstone & Clay
TA: 6.2 g/L
pH: 3.54
Alcohol: 14%
Oak: 18 months in French barrique (20% new)
Production: 1,500 cases

Reviews:

"Hand-picked, whole bunches were placed on top of riesling skins (sufficient to equate to 5%) and open-fermented with plunging for 11 days; then 18 months in predominantly used French oak. Whether riesling provides the same alchemy as viognier is an open question; this is certainly a lively wine, with a freshness to the mouthfeel of the light to medium-bodied palate." ~ 92, James Halliday, Wine Companion

Price: $176, 2cs $168, 3cs $160
 
Mataro March Hare of the Barossa

This is a single vineyard wine from Carl Lindner’s Old Block near Lyndoch, the cooler, wetter southern end of the Barossa, ideal for Mataró or Mourvédre as it is also known (also called Monastrell in Spain).

 

The March Hare Vineyard is also ideal at attracting wildlife, including hares who from the first color in the grapes madly attack the fruit from March onwards and from all directions. Selected bunches were hand picked by family and friends on March the 27th and gently crushed into open top fermenters. After 14 days fermentation the wine was then basket-pressed into older French and Bulgarian oak barriques for 18 months maturation and then bottled without filtration or fining, to capture the essence of the vineyard and will reward cellaring and decanting.

 

Region: McLaren Vale
Varietal: 100% Mataró
Vintage: 2012
Vineyard: Carl Lindner's Old Block near Lyndoch
Vine Age: 85 years old
Yield: 2.2 tons per acre
Soil Type: Brown Clay Loam intermixed with Grey Sand
TA: 7.13 g/L
pH: 3.49
Alcohol: 14%
Oak: 18 months in neutral Bulgarian & French barriques
Production: 800 cases

Reviews:

"Deep garnet-purple in color and endowed with aromas of warm blackberries and dried plums dotted with touches of tar, earth, anise and carob, the 2012 March Hare of the Barossa Mataro has a medium-bodied palate showing good concentration of black fruit and earthy, savory flavors and sporting a medium level of chewy tannins, a nice zippy backbone of acid and a long finish. Drink it now to 2018+. " ~ 90, Wine Advocate May 2014

 

"Inky purple. Blueberry, cassis, peppery spices and a touch of cola on the perfumed nose. Nicely concentrated and supple, displaying a smoky quality to its dark berry, mocha and bitter chocolate flavors. Finishes with smooth, harmonious tannins and very good persistence." ~ 90, Vinous July 2014

Price: Fl $224.00, 2cs $212.00, 3cs $200.00
 
Sauvignon Blanc Wishing Clock

Whole bunches from a distinct Sauvignon Blanc site- Bill & Vicki Borchardt’s, in the heart of the Adelaide Hills, atop Teakle’s Hill in Woodside were hand selected and picked on the 3rd of March in the cool of early morning then destemmed in small batches without crushing the fruit. Gentle pressing followed.

 

The free run juice was then fermented in small stainless steel tanks and bottled without fining and with minimal filtration. The result is a pure expression of fruit - a style that is somewhere between Casablanca Valley (Chile) and Marlborough (New Zealand).

 

Region: Adelaide Hills
Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2012
Vineyard: Borchardt’s Vineyard
Vine Age: 18 years old
Yield: 4.1 tons per acre
Soil Type: Brown Clay over Quartz & Schist
TA: 7.3 grams per liter
pH: 3.15
Alcohol: 12.5%
Oak: None - Stainless Steel
Production: 2,800 cases

Reviews:
Price: Fl $144.00, 3cs $136.00, 5cs $126.00
 
Pride of the Fluerieu Cabernet Sauvignon

With a prime position overlooking the Finniss River wetlands, ‘Stranger’s Reach’ vineyard is cooled by the maritime influence of the Great Southern Ocean and nearby Lake Alexandria.

 

Selected bunches were hand-picked by family and friends on April 15th and gently crushed into open top fermenters. After 14 days fermentation the wine was then basket pressed into some new but predominately older French Oak Barriques for 18 months maturation and then bottled without filtration or fining, to capture the essence of the vineyard and will reward cellaring and decanting.

 

Region: Fleurieu Peninsula
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2011
Vineyard: Stranger's Reach Vineyard
Vine Age: 42 years old
Yield: 2.2 tons per acre
Soil Type: Deep Alluvial Soils
Oak: 18 months in French barrique (20% new)
Production: 650 cases produced

Reviews:
Price: Fl $176.00, 2cs $168.00, 3cs $160.00
 
Shiraz - Red Queen Of The Eden Valley

Winemaker Elena Brooks crowned Colin Croehn's ancient Eden Valley Vineyard as the Red Queen of the Eden Valley whose age, altitude, aspect and slope are key to her reign. Planted in 1912, the vineyard sits at 1,550 feet above sea level on a south facing slope on approximately 600 million year old sub-soil. From these ancient, gnarled vines, many over a hundred years of age, are not only surviving but thriving on their own roots in some of the oldest soils on the planet.

 

In the last week of March whole bunches of ripe Shiraz were hand harvested, then gently crushed and naturally fermented in open fermenters for nine days, hand plunged twice a day, before careful basket pressing into new (50%) and one-year French Oak Barriques to finish fermentation. After 30 months maturation and a racking in the same oak, the wine was bottled without filtration or fining, to capture the essence of the vineyard.

 

Region: Eden Valley
Varietal: 100% Shiraz
Vintage: 2009
Vineyard: Kroehn Vineyard
Vine Age: 98 years old
Yield: 1.2 tons per acre
Soil Type: Loamy Sands on Clay Loam with Quartzite & Ironstone
TA: 6.8 grams per liter
pH: 3.43
Alcohol: 14.5%
Oak: 30 months in French barrique (50% new)
Production: 320 cases

Reviews:

"Deep purple-black colored, the 2009 Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz reveals pronounced aromas of blackberries, cassis and mulberries with hints of loam, cedar, Indian spices and anise. Rich and concentrated in the mouth, it has a taut structure of medium-firm level finely grained tannins and refreshing acidity, finishing long. Very primary and youthful still, it’s approachable now but should evolve gracefully and cellar to 2021+." ~ 92, Wine Advocate February 2012

 

"Inky purple. Drop-dead sexy aromas of blackberry liqueur, candied cherry, violet and incense, with suave spice notes gaining strength with air. Seamless and expansive in the mouth, offering sweet dark berry and violet pastille flavors and a pliant, velour-like texture. Soft tannins arrive late and add shape to the very long, sappy, subtly smoky finish. The depth of fruit here is impressive. These vines, which sit at 1,440 meters, were reportedly planted in 1912." ~ 93, Vinous July 2011

Price: (6 packs) Fl $260