Owned by Andrew Gunn who named his estate after a Scottish island, Iona is hidden down a long dirt track in Elgin and its long incline gives a good idea of their high altitude (450m) vineyards, affording a spectacular view across the valley. Here they exploit the long growing season to create relatively low alcohol wines brimming with poise and tension.
The superb 2010 Sauvignon Blanc has a very Loire-like, flinty bouquet with impressive delineation; imbued with a tangible coolness you might say. The palate is very well defined with subtle apricot and white peach notes behind the ripe gooseberry fruit. With attractive harmony towards the finish, this represents a very fine Elgin Sauvignon. Drink now-2015.
Another highly recommended Iona white is the 2009 Chardonnay, fermented 70% in French oak, a judicious 20% new with some lees aging thereafter. It has a well-defined bouquet with light peach and hazelnut notes and the oak is very well integrated, allowing the fruit to express itself to the fullest. The palate is very well balanced with a touch of fatness on the entry leading to a taut middle with good acidity and lovely nutty, honeyed flavours towards the finish. This is a very fine Elgin Chardonnay, plus great value to boot. Drink now-2015.
Named after a Viking son, 2006 The Gunnar is a Bordeaux blend consisting of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot that undergoes 12 to 18 months in barrel with around 30% new oak. The nose displays impressive definition with lively, crisp red currant, raspberry and dark plum fruit with just a faint hint of tar and cedar wood. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, good acidity, well integrated new oak and an expressive, Bordeaux-like finish with touches of graphite and tobacco. Drink now-2015.
The excellent 2007 Shiraz was matured in 500-liter barrels with 30% new oak. It has a clean, well defined, pure nose of dark plum, blackberry and damson fruit with just a faint hint of white pepper, although it is still youthful for its age. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins that belie a real solid structure. Very good complexity, very Northern Rhone-like in style, it has great precision and impressive complexity towards the edgy, chalky finish. Excellent.