Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa
Fragrance of pure white grapefruit, intense tropical fruit, ripe gooseberry and fleshy kiwi fruit over-lay Iona's distinctive herbal and floral undertones. The palate is keenly balanced showing cut green apples and lime marmalade followed by great minerality and length.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc is blended with 5% Semillon and fermented in stainless steel. It has a very fine bouquet with Granny Smith apples and fresh pear. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, a lively citric thread and a mineral-rich finish that is understated and long in the mouth. This is a classy Sauvignon."
In 1997 Andrew Gunn, an engineer by training, bought land in the Kogelberg overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Elgin, South Africa. After purchasing the farm, Gunn began examining the climate’s history and determined that the conditions on the 420m high mountain plateau were similar to those in the famed Bordeaux region.
Named after a Scottish island, Iona’s altitude and cool summer winds blowing off the Atlantic Ocean contribute to a unique environment and ensure that the wine’s sugar, pH, acid and flavor compounds are in perfect balance. Iona is located on one of the coolest climate sites in South Africa and they harvest up to 4 weeks later than other regions in South Africa.
The first vines were planted in 1998, and the wines have quickly established a cult following for their Sauvignon Blanc. Niels Verburg, the winemaker, enjoys elegant wines that truly reflect their site, and at Iona he makes wines that are unique and flavorful but low in alcohol. View all Iona Wines
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A long history of growing grapes and making wine, but less of a history on exporting it, and even lesser on the quality aspect. At the turn of the century (1900, that is), a surplus of wine in South Africa created a hierarchy of cooperatives, the biggest and best known being KWV. This organization seemed to favor quantity over quality and had most control over wines and vineyards until the late 1980's. Now, with a bit more competition, quality is coming around. Yet, South African wine was not even seen in American wine stores until the mid-1990's – the trade embargo on the country for their racial apartheid laws kept South African wine out of the US. When apartheid fell, so did the embargo, and SA bottles began showing up on US shelves.
White wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, much of it the Steen variety – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape gaining some raves is Sauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends was once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, which used to be a grape only your mother could love, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. The most popular regions of the country include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Notable FactsWhite wine has always been the cash crop of South Africa, with much of it distilled to make brandy. More white than red is planted, the majority of it is Steen – known elsewhere in the world as Chenin Blanc. Good producers are making top quality dry wines from this grape. Another grape the critics rave aboutSauvignon Blanc, producing whites that are dry and crisp, yet rounder than many of its Southern Hemisphere counterparts. For reds, the top grapes are Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (& blends) and Pinotage. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends were once the favorite and most-produced, but Shiraz is taking over as wineries crank out high quality wines from the variety. Pinotage, a man-made crossing between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, has improved dramatically and is often as delicious as it is distinctive. In describing red wines in South Africa, smoky and meaty are two terms that are common. Regionally, the most popular wine-making areas include Stellenbosch and Paarl.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.