A Royal Decree from Her Majesty Elena Queen of McLaren Vale

Posted November 04, 2021

A new royal dynasty burst onto the McLaren Vale wine scene, when dynamic duo Elena and Zar Brooks, were crowned the Queen and King of Bushing, in traditional ceremonies that were the culmination of announcing the results of the 48th McLaren Vale Wine Show.

The wine that bestowed this much treasured traditional role and its impressive regalia of crown and robes was the Dandelion Vineyards Lion’s Tooth of McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling 2020.

Judged as Best in Class this standout wine in the ‘Shiraz Predominant Blends’, the Lion’s Tooth went to win Best Wine in Show. Venerated chair of judges Tony Love proclaimed: “Best wine showed freshness, power and balance along with enough X factor to set it apart from the pack.”

This X factor wine, Dandelion Vineyards Lion’s Tooth of McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling 2020, is no overnight sensation. In fact, the first ever wine Elena and Zar made under their Dandelion Vineyards company 15 vintages ago was Lion’s Tooth Shiraz Riesling.

This rather novel blend is in reality an old-fashioned Australian winemakers’ trick and reasonably common up until the 1950’s but then slipped out of fashion and disappeared. Zar and Elena were intrigued and have resurrected the style as an homage to Australian wines of the ‘open ferment’ era.

It says something of Queen Elena’s dedication and skill that the ‘overnight success’ of Dandelion Vineyards has been built up over the last 15 years, in which time she has also had wine judged as Best of Show in the Barossa. Queen Elena gives a salute to the first official Bushing Queen, the incomparable and much-loved Pam Dunsford in 1991.

Dandelion Vineyards Lion’s Tooth of McLaren Vale 2020 is available to purchase now from our esteemed trade partners, but if you can wait till March it will be a wonderful wine to taste at the new Dandelion Vineyards cellar door, which should by then be finished and open. It will be a key part of the McLaren Vale best tasting experience with spectacular views over McLaren Vale, the Willunga Escarpment, and the Gulf St Vincent.

But if you can’t wait just order your wine online and the Bushing Queen of McLaren Vale will bring our treasures to your door.

Bushing: The Elizabethan custom of hanging an ivory holly bush over the cellar door to signal that the new vintage wine was available.

Bushing King & Queen: Wine sellers would choose a person to be their King for the festival to start the festivities, allow work to stop and forgive misdemeanour and encourage gentle abandon.

Wassail: Ancient toast ‘to be of good health’. So, in McLaren Vale, when toasting an achievement or an event such as a wedding, funeral, start of vintage or opening a new building, we use the Wassail.

MC eg “to the happy newly Weds; All Hail!”

Audience replies “Wassail” and lift glasses and drink.

 McLaren Vale Wine Show 2021 – Trophies

  • Bushing Monarch – Dandelion Vineyards 2020 Lion’s Tooth of McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling
  • Best Shiraz Predominant Blend – Dandelion Vineyards 2020 Lion’s Tooth of McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling, 96 Points Top Gold

 Scoring & Awards

  • Shiraz Predominant Blends – any vintage category – 2020 Moonrise Kingdom Shiraz Grenache Petite Sirah – 93 Points, Silver
  • Shiraz 2020 or younger category – 2020 Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz – 93 Points, Silver
  • Shiraz 2019 category – 2019 Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz – 89 Points, Bronze
  • Best Shiraz Predominant Blend – 2019 Lion’s Tooth McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling - 88 Points, Bronze

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