Iona Single Vineyard range

By , 18 November 2019

Werner Muller, Andrew Gunn and Brad Gold of Iona with Aubergine sommelier Ralph Reynolds (second from left).

Andrew Gunn acquired the Elgin property that came to be known as Iona in 1997, the first vineyards planted a year later. Some two decades on, he feels that he and his team have sufficient insight into the various blocks to warrant bottling single vineyard wines. “The rise of the Swartland has been fantastic for South African wine and I celebrate the winemakers involved. However, I worry that what’s been lost is an appreciation of the need to invest in farming practices – we’ve always taken the long view here,” he says. “You’ve got to be patient particularly if you want to be commercially sustainable. This project continues to excite, stimulate and challenge me.” Going forwards, Iona wines will bear the designation “Monopole”, the French term for an area controlled by a single winery…

Winemaker Werner Muller adds: “Vine age across the farm is now 13 years on average. Fruit quality off young vines can be up and down but we’re getting good consistency now and it’s only going to improve. We can take a step up every year.” Tasting notes and ratings for the single vineyard wines as follows:

Iona Kloof Pinot Noir 2017
Price: R500
From a 2009 vineyard planted to multiple clones on quartzite. 5% whole-bunch fermentation before maturation lasting 12 months in 300- and 500-litre barrels, 27% new. Red fruit, dried herbs and fynbos on the nose. The palate is lean and fresh with fine yet grippy tannins. Wonderfully delicate and light – alcohol: 13.57%.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

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Iona Kroon Pinot Noir 2017
Price: R500
From a 2009 vineyard planted to multiple clones on ferrocrete. 8% whole-bunch fermentation before maturation lasting 12 months in 300- and 500-litre barrels, 18% new. Some floral fragrance before wild strawberry, white pepper and a hint of earth. The palate shows great fruit purity and energy, the tannins fine and mouthcoating. Real finesse here.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

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Iona Kloof Chardonnay 2017
Price: R500
From a 2009 vineyard planted to multiple clones on quartzite. Spontaneous fermentation in 300-litre barrels, 25% new. An ethereal nose, only the vaguest notes of citrus and stone fruit to be discerned plus a little flinty reduction. The palate is light bodied and taut, the finish very dry. A hint of waxiness appears with time in the glass.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

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Iona Fynbos Chardonnay 2017
Price: R500
From a 2003 vineyard planted to multiple clones on gravel on clay. Spontaneous fermentation in 300-litre barrels, 25% new. A subtle but immensely appealing nose with notes of citrus, apple and dried herbs. The palate is pristine – great fruit definition, driving acidity and a super-pithy finish. This has presence without being weighty and is just wonderfully focused.

CE’s rating: 96/100.

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