Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard
‘I-own-a Wine Farm!’ remains one of my favourite review titles having met owner Andrew Gunn when I visited Iona for tasting in May last year. The wines were rather good too as the maritime conditions of this cool climate, Southernmost Elgin wine farm mirror those in Bordeaux. Today marked something of a departure from my usual tasting routine: I usually sample a small selection of wines at one of the Vineyard Hotel Monday tasting evenings before travelling to taste in the vineyard. This time, rarely, it was to be the other way around. More details of the farm, Andrew Gunn the owner, and the terroir are in my previous post.
Marketing Manager, Juliette, brought 4 wines for tasting. They were the same as I had tasted before save for the Sauvignon Blanc being a vintage younger (2017). I was interested to see how my notes (and palate some 8 months later) compared. The Sauvignon Blanc showed typical Sancerre-style green aromas of asparagus, green pepper, lime, and grapefruit. There was a flintiness to the character and a bright acidity that bordered on being too youthful for my palate.
Although only 15% of the wine is matured in French oak, the Chardonnay showed prominent caramel and vanilla notes that largely masked Granny Smith apple and citrus aromas beneath. I remembered it being more balanced before but the wine was served very chilled which may have masked the fruit flavours. It was clean on the palate showing little evidence of any creaminess associated with malo-lactic fermentation. Nonetheless, there was a good discipline for a firm finish.
The Pinot Noir was my favourite wine then and again today. It was light bodied and a beautiful pale ruby colour in appearance. I liked the complexity of sweet cherry, white plum and cranberry fruitiness that was balanced with a white peppercorn spiciness. Light in appearance the wine may be, but it showed a vibrancy and brightness on the palate as tannins gripped and held on for a lingering aftertaste.
The One Man Band, a blend of 6 cultivars from the Rhone and Bordeaux regions, was served from a Rhone-styled bottle. This was very obviously Shiraz-led with a full bouquet of peppery spicy fruits with juicy red to black berried sweeter Cabernet berries beneath. Cedar flavours emerged on the palate as the tannins see-sawed from smooth to grippy.
I much enjoyed the second tasting and reassured to find that it supported my earlier assessment and review of the Iona wines. I aim to return to the estate again sometime soon and most likely after harvest. There is nothing like tasting wines at the place in which they are made.
Wines tasted (bought *):
2017 Sauvignon Blanc – R135
2016 Chardonnay – R260
2014 Pinot Noir – R240 FAVOURITE WINE
2011 One Man Band (57% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 12% Merlot, 2% Mourvèdre, 2% Viognier) – R260