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One Man Band by Iona 2008

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Non-conformist.

One Man Band is the new high-end red blend from Andrew and Rozy Gunn of Iona in Elgin. When the two married in 2003, they kept both their properties, his high on the mountain overlooking the sea and hers in a more inland valley. Being more maritime, the top farm is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot while the warmer bottom farm has Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Viognier as well as a little Petit Verdot under vine – One Man Band is the result of efforts to combine the produce of both properties to best effect.

The maiden 2008 consists of 60% Shiraz, the rest Cab, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Mourvèdre and it spent 18 months in barrel, 25% new. Vinification was by Niels Verburg of Luddite while Alicia Rechner, who made a name for herself at Backsberg, had a big hand in blending and bottling. Price per bottle: R262.50.

The wine does not conform to any conventional template (reference points, if these are needed, are probably wines like Beaumont Vitruvian and Waterford The Jem) and the result is somewhat curious. Surprisingly rich and broad in structure, there’s plenty of dark fruit but also meaty, malty notes. A nice line of acidity saves it from becoming listless. It’s clearly the result of serious endeavor but there’s a sense of those involved still finding their way. Score: 16/20.

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