Friday, July 6, 2012

Dandelion Vineyards Tasting

These are notes from a tasting I attended (work function) with winemaker Elena Brooks of Australia's Dandelion Vineyards on June 4. Dandelion is a relatively new operation with a pretty darn nice pedigree. I wish I could remember the details, but I believe the vineyard manager goes back a long way with d'Arenberg and some of their more impressive high-end offerings. Brooks, originally from Eastern Europe, trained at wineries all over the world before calling Australia home. Fuzzy details notwithstanding, these are excellent, single vineyard, terroir-driven wines at more than reasonable prices.

Incidentally, the word Dandelion comes from the French "Dent de Lion" (lion's tooth); hence all of the lion references in the names of the wines.

2010 Dandelion Vineyards Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling, Eden Valley - 100% free run juice from grapes grown in sandy, quartz-based soils. Quite minerally from start to finish with green apple and white flower notes on the nose and palate. Bone dry with a yeasty finish and fantastic acidity. I think this has some potential to age. A great option for those who like their Rieslings without traces of petroleum. $22

2009 Dandelion Vineyards Lion's Tooth of the McLaren Vale Shiraz/Riesling, McLaren Vale and Eden Valley - Shiraz co-fermented with the skins from the Dandelion Riesling. Primary and lusty with crazy berry, smoke, vanilla and licorice in addition to the yeasty/fermentation notes. The palate shows good fruit and secondary concentration, but it isn't quite as ripe as the nose would suggest. A delicate, floral perfume (no doubt from the Riesling) becomes more prominent as the wine opens up. Long French oak finish. $22

2010 Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz, Barossa Valley - Staggering purple/crimson color. Very spicy with pepper and fruitcake aromas and flavors. The palate is supremely concentrated with coffee, cough syrup, dry cocoa flavors that trend towards wintergreen with air exposure. Firmly tannic. The antithesis to the deep, smoky berry found on the Lion's Tooth. $22

2009 Dandelion Vineyards Pride of the Fleurieu Peninsula Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia - Austere and lean with sweet/tart cranberry and cherry fruit and a distinct green tobacco/herbaceousness. Telltale green peppercorn/wintergreen notes that just scream "cool climate Cabernet." Has the tannins to age. While I can appreciate the Old World style the winemaker was shooting for here, I have to admit this is not my preferred style of Cabernet Sauvignon. $22


  1. ". A great option for those who like their Rieslings without traces of petroleum." I wonder who that might be!
    Bill, this is a nice cluster of reviews.

    1. Just thought I'd throw that out there, Dennis, in case anyone reading my blog happens to fit that description :)