Iona, Elgin Highlands Chardonnay, Elgin, South Africa, 2022
At 420m above sea-level, set high above the picturesque Elgin Valley Andrew Gunn founded Iona. It is here overlooking the Atlantic ocean that he has secured some of the coolest vineyards in the Cape.
In a country where cool climate vineyards are like gold dust, these vineyards are veritable nuggets. There is an extremely long growing season, allowing Andrew to create wines with complex flavours and a fresh, elegant style. The approach is hands off and the land is farmed according to organic and biodynamic practices with a particular focus on ensuring the health of the soils whilst pests are kept under control by the resident flock of geese that roam the vineyards.
The Chardonnay is produced from 2 North-facing vineyards on the western boundary of the estate, both planted in 2003. The cool climate ensures long, slow physiological ripening of the grapes under ideal growing conditions, with the sugar, ph, acids, tannins and flavour compounds being in perfect balance to produce elegant, low alcohol wines of distiction. Harvested in March.
The vineyard are between 13-19 years old. The grapes were hand-picked before being whole bunch pressed. No settling enzymes were used, resulting in juice containing more solids. This wine was 100% wild fermented in a selection of 300L and 228L French oak barrels (20% new, the rest in 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels). The wine remained on the lees for a total of 11 months. 10% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation to add richness and texture. Thereafter, the wines were racked and blended (45% Kloof, 26% Fynbos, 22% Kraal and 7% Block F4) in stainless steel tanks. The wine was fined and stabilised naturally for a period of three months before bottling.
Type: French Oak
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 20
Stylish and and Burgundian with bright citrus, white stone fruit, oyster shell minerality and a hint of brioche. The purity of fruit combined with well-judged oak and bright fresh acidity result in a wine that is layered and complex with a lingering finish.
Lobster or Turbot in a cream sauce. Shellfish and Chicken.
6 x 75cl
Award: Jancis Robinson 17 Points