Elgin-based producer Iona have released two new wines from special terroirs. I review them here.
Iona Solace Wine of Brocha Syrah 2018 Elgin, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. From stony, north-facing slopes. Farming is organic save one herbicide spray a year. From a single vineyard site on Brocha soils, planted with two different Syrah clones. Mostly destemmed (15% whole bunch) and then matured in mostly used oak (20% new). Fresh red currant and cherry fruit on the nose with some floral notes and a fine peppery framing. The palate has supple berry and cherry fruit with really refined mineral, iron and pepper spice detail threading in and out. This is such a beautiful expression of cool-climate Syrah with real finesse and delicacy, but also great presence. It is delicious now in a fine-grained, lithe sort of way, but has the mineral intensity to develop nicely in bottle. 95/100 (UK agent Alliance; £28 Flagship Wines, £26 Kwoff, £25 Solent Cellar, £24 Hermitage Cellars)
Iona Kloof Monopole Chardonnay 2018 Elgin, South Africa
13% alcohol. This comes from rocky quartzite soils, with clones 95, 96 and 277. 100% wild fermented in a selection of 300L French oak barrels (38% new, the rest in 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels). The wine remained on the lees for a total of 12 months, without battonage and with 7% malolactic fermentation. It’s highly aromatic with notes of toast, spice, grapefruit and peach. The palate has nutty, spicy, peachy richness with some cashew and hazelnut, as well as bold lemon and green apple fruit. There’s keen acidity and some restraint here, with a lovely intensity and a tapering mineral finish. Lots of potential for development: a really serious Elgin Chardonnay. 95/100
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