Dandelion Vineyards Lions Tooth of McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling 2017  £14.95

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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 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.

The 2016/17 growing season was one of the wettest on record with harvest taking place four weeks later than the 2016 vintage. The wet soils combined with a cooler than average spring and early summer meant the vines grew slowly but healthily. Well-timed rains in late January/early February were followed by a return to dry conditions and the beginning of an Indian summer from March to late April which was perfect for ripening grapes and natural acidity.

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 plunging twice daily before being gently pressed into a mix of new and old French oak barriques to complete fermentation. The wine remained in these barrels for 18 months before being racked and 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.

94 Points - James Halliday - The Wine Companion

95% whole bunch shiraz fermented with 5% riesling skins for 11 days, then matured in French barriques (mostly new) for 18 months. Is the type of wine that fuels fierce arguments about 100% whole bunch ferments (the riesling is a side show). Vibrantly aromatic and flavoured to the point of outright mouthwatering red fruits and a streak of acidity end up as a coherent whole.

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