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Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2016
On the money.

Including 4% Semillon, this wine from Elgin producer Iona is extraordinarily expressive right now with notes of granadilla and pineapple to the fore on the nose but also lime and a little jasmine. The palate is fairly bursting with fruit offset by racy acidity, the finish long and dry. Just about critic proof. Wine Cellar price: R145 a bottle.

#WinemagRating: 90/100.

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  1. Great review Christian but I battle to understand the 90 score vs your comments re the wine?? I wonder if Andrew needs to grow some side burns and a bokbaartjie (pony tail not being an option) in order to get the kind of score you give to the ‘trendy’ winemakers??

    • Hi Dana, For all its merits, the Iona 2016 is currently very primary – I’m pretty sure it will gain extra complexity with time in bottle but who really ages Sauvignon Blanc? Then, however good this single-variety Sauvignon is, I don’t believe it’s in the same league as the Iona One Band White 2015 which rated 94 on this site… Lastly, the Iona Sauvignon is made in vastly greater quantities than many a top-end Chenin from the Swartland – high-quality wine in meaningful volumes being pretty cool in its own right.

  2. Christian you have rated many other wines for the expectation of future improvement. Cool climate Sauv Blanc makes a strong case for aging white wines. And for appreciating a great Sauv Blanc grape more, as it gains complexity with age. The fact that its made in decent quantity is should not hurt the score, nor should small productions boost the score.
    Hats off to Andrew and his team for building such a strong label and playing such a key role in building the Elgin reputation!!

  3. Absolutely Dana, the real challenge is to make great quality in reasonable volumes, achieved by growing all our own grapes with meticulous attention to detail in the vineyard, 9 different Sauvignon Blanc clones, different row directions and a great winemaker in Werner Muller.

  4. Dana, just the other day I was laughing at myself with another winemaker at how we now get peeved at a low 90s score. Have we become so spoiled and our egos so inflated that a 90 is an insult? Iona is a flawless classic…and, as has been discussed, is now produced in significant quantities making the achievement more profound. 90 is (according to a quick google) a standard that implies “superior to exceptional”, I think that is awesome and well deserved. Rather than looking at what other wines are scored, we should just accept a critics interpretation of the wine in that moment. If you look up wines from famous chateau they most often get 90-92 points and we in SA are sitting right along side them. I think we need to stop feeling that every great thing we do requires being awarded inflated praise and take the “superior to exceptional” when it is given to us. Just my thoughts on the matter.


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