The vineyards which produce the One Man Band have over the last 5 years, been the primary focus of our efforts to move into organic farming and this year received their first biodynamic preparations in an ongoing quest to further nurture the individuality of site and soil. Long known for our startling Sauvignon Blanc, we finally offer a red wine which is the culmination of 12 years of viticultural and winemaking effort, of ongoing endeavour that is – One Man Band 2008.
One Man Band is our endeavour to put the best possible red wine from Iona in a bottle using any, some or all of our Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Mourvèdre and Viognier, regardless of planted proportions, creating a blend which surpasses any of the single varietals on their own. A blend gives us the leverage to produce – in any given vintage, a wine of substance, character, complexity and poise. A wine that will represent the best possible reflection of each vintage from Iona.
One Man Band is a balancing act using many different instruments, aiming to harmonise, co-ordinate and integrate the separate elements. One Man Band is not a "fait accompli" – but rather represents continuous endeavour and striving. There is implied humility with necessary focus and dedication to task which is the cornerstone of our farming practices, the making and selling of our wines.
The wine shows cool climate freshness and a surprising intensity, with spice and gentle game notes. It is layered with fragrant sweet, ripe cherry and blackberry flavours, with underlying almond and white pepper tones. The palate is seamless, sleek and polished, with firm, ripe tannins. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (25% new) for 12 to 18 months. Drinking well now, but is suitable for cellaring for at least 10 years.
From the 2008 vintage, we have decided to produce a red blend that is reflective of the best of the red wines Iona produces. It is a wine that will reflect two very different terroirs: the warm, ripe Syrah from our Brocha vineyards lower down in the Elgin Valley, and the cool, fresh Cabernet and Merlot from Iona's vineyards, high up overlooking the Atlantic. The idea behind producing this wine is to produce something that is incomparable and unique to our property.
The blend will also contain small components of Petit Verdot and Mourvèdre and even Viognier in some years, all grown on Brocha, adding up to something that does not draw comparison to Old World, or even other South African wines. The 2008 wine is dominated by Shiraz, giving us warm, ripe spicy fruit with wonderful depth and concentration. Cool Cabernet and Merlot then lift and freshen the wine. In each vintage, the blend will be different, as we want to show the best expression of the red wines produced in any given year, rather than relying on a formula for the blend.
Our red wine vinification is very traditional, with grapes being hand-harvested before being de-stemmed and hand-sorted on a vibrating table. Extraction is achieved using regular pump-overs, which helps the development of tannins. Later on in the ferment we switch to punching down to keep the skins submerged in the wine, as we enter a period of extended maceration following alcoholic fermentation. During this time, the wines are tasted every day in order to assess the extraction level and when to press-off. Once pressed off, the wines undergo spontaneous malolactic fermentation in tank before being racked to barrel where they will undergo 12-18 months of aging in French oak barrels, of which 25% is new oak. During this maturation in barrel, the wine will be racked 2-3 times to help clarify it naturally and to help develop its aroma and structure.