Iona’s Owner Andrew Gunn Presents His Winery’s New Releases in London…

My last opportunity to catch up with Iona winery’s owner Andrew Gunn was scuppered by his nasty fall off a ladder which lead to him having to cancel his trip to the UK in February 2020, just before the Covid-19 global lockdown. Roll on two years and finally Andrew returned to London to profile some of his impressive new releases.

With the focus of the Iona brand shifting to more premium site specific expressions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the past few years, the excitement seems to build incrementally ahead of each new release as the wines become more fine tuned to their individual terroirs on the farm. As always, it was lovely to catch up with Andrew again and hear all about the latest developments at his Iona winery.

Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2020, WO Elgin, 13% Abv.

With a 7 percent portion of Semillon, the 2020 is wild fermented in second and third fill 500 litre barrels and offers aromatics of green apple, white pear, lemon grass and a hint of capsicum peppers. The wine is mellow and fine tuned, beautifully integrated and fresh with crystalline purity, bright acids and a complex, pithy, stony mineral finish. Drinking very well now with an overt, harmonious finesse.

(Wine Safari score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Iona Monopole Chardonnay 2020 Elgin Highlands, WO Elgin, 13% Abv.

Wild yeasts and barrel fermented, this is a more classical expression showing great aromatic restraint with notes of struck flint, lime peel, waxy green apple skins and dried baking herbs. The palate is subtle and sleek, seamlessly textured and wonderfully elegant with beautifully integrated melon, peach and yellow citrus fruits melting into a smoky minerality and roasted nut depth. A very classy old world leaning Chardonnay.

(Wine Safari score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Iona Monopole Kloof Chardonnay 2018, WO Elgin, 13% Abv.

The 2018 shows a rich core of fruit with leesy, biscuity notes over honey stroopwaffles, white blossom, gun flint and subtle butterscotch nuances. The palate is bold and full, confidently structured, exhibiting plenty of acid frame, textural fruit depth, savoury lemon and herb fruit notes, finishing with a lemon and lime brightness kissed with vanilla pod oak spice.

(Wine Safari score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Iona Monopole Fynbos Chardonnay 2018, WO Elgin, 13.5% Abv.

Grown on post glacial alluvial soils, this Fynbos shows fabulously intense, crystalline, lemon and lime cordial notes, with hints of lemon peel, river stones and savoury umami hints. The oak is restrained and subtle, integrated beautifully with a sleek glycerol palate with textured layers of lime peel, sweet citrus pastille fruits and subtle roasted notes. A very classy expression.

(Wine Safari score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Iona Monopole Pinot Noir 2018, WO Elgin, 13% Abv.

Rich expressive aromatics rise out the glass with bold notes of stewed strawberries, winter black berry compote, savoury plums with a meaty, earthy edge. The palate is attractively rich, textured and dark fruited with an equal measure of earthy savoury spice and mixed red and black berry creamy elegance. Impressively complex, well balance and basically a wine crying out for a seductive food and wine matching.

(Wine Safari score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Iona Monopole Kloof Pinot Noir 2018, WO Elgin, 13.5% Abv.

An intriguing wine showing beautiful complexity with intricate notes of sloe berries, sun dried red cherries, wet grey slate and ripe pomegranate. The palate is spicy, sleek and linear, perhaps holding a bit back, but is already rich and bright with glassy cool, tight acids, a direct, taut texture and a long blue and black berry fruited finish with pithy, stony mineral tannins. Lovely balance and wonderfully attractive now but certainly good for a few more years in the cellar.

(Wine Safari score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Iona Solace 2018 Syrah, WO Elgin, 13.5% Abv.

A rich dark broody affair, this is a big bold wine with expressive aromatics of logan berries, crushed raspberries, black berry kirsch liquor, sweet baked herbs and a savoury, sweet sour intensity. Rich and ripe yet showing plentiful elegance and restraint with classical proportions, this has lovely layers of cherry cola, cranberry coulee, sweet tangy acids and a long savoury, meaty finish. An imposing wine with power and presence but also a fine sense of elegance and restaint.

(Wine Safari score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

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