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Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2011

  • RP90
750ML / 13.6% ABV
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  • WE91
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750ML / 13.6% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's 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.
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Iona

Iona

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Iona, South Africa
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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.

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South Africa

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With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.

Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.

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Sauvignon Blanc

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A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.

In the Glass

From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California's style is fruit-driven, in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.

Perfect Pairings

The freshness of Sauvignon blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it matches well with complex seafood and chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.

MSW18700111_2011 Item# 124935