Iona, Kloof Chardonnay, Elgin, South Africa, 2020
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 grapes were selected from the Kloof vineyard, on a north facing slope with an East-West row direction. Vines werer planted in 2009 on soils with large deposits of silica quartz with underlying clay. The Kloof vineyard is dry land farmed and the clones planted include CY95, CY96 and 548.
Grapes were hand-picked and spent overnight in a cold room, 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 French oak barrels (25% new, the rest in 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels). The wine remained on the lees for a total of 12 months, without battonage. Thereafter, the wine was racked and blended. The wine was fined and stabilised naturally for a period of 3 months before bottling.
Type: 300l French Oak
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 25
The wine from the Kloof Vineyard is totally unique to South Africa. Pure fruit (soft white pear and bright limey citrus) razor sharp acidity and well-judged oak result in a wine that is precise, intricate yet layered, focussed and fine with significant ageing potential. It has a beautiful oyster shell minerality, a slight saline note, a long finish and good weight on the back palate.
Fish cakes, pasta with creamy sauce.
6 x 75cl
Award: Jancis Robinson 17 Points