LIFE ON IONA

Elgin's Chardonnay Colloquium and Reflections from the Iona kitchen

The Elgin Valley welcomes guests from around the world to imbibe, discuss and compare Elgin Chardonnays with some of the top international Chardonnays at the fourth Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium on Saturday 12 October for this year’s Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium. After welcome drinks, a panel comprising Richard Kershaw MW, Cathy Marston, Dan Nicholl and Joe Wadsack will introduce Elgin producers' 2017 Chardonnays and invite discussion from guests.

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Our Quest for Excellence

It’s funny how a bit of hardship gets one digging deep. Probably the best thing about this past season is how, as a team, we have met more often, questioned our farming practices more acutely and generally rallied to further our quest for excellence in the vineyard, the cellar and in the market place.

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Iona ... Set Apart

As 2018 draws to a close we reflect on another absorbing year finishing off with a strong endorsement of our endeavour by the well-respected Richard Hemming, Master of Wine on Jancis Robinson's website, undoubtedly the most influential wine critic in the world in which Iona was rated very highly.

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Iona welcomes Brad Gold as General Manager

To lead the business to the next level in an exciting, challenging and fast changing environment will require different skills to mine and I have therefore decided to appoint Brad Gold as General Manager whilst moving to a supportive "Chairman" role, working with him and the team to take us to the next level.

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Melanzane with One Man Band Red

With all the ubiquitous salads being served during the holidays sometimes I crave a warm, generous cooked vegetable dish. I have made a lot of melanzane in my life and my days of using about a litre of olive oil to fry 8 bringals cut into slices (only to have it all drain out again onto kitchen paper) are over. So try this and not only will you not have to lie in a darkened room at the end of the preparation but you may well even prefer it to the more "correct" version.

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Omelette and Iona Chardonnay

This is for when you are "gatvol" of having a house full of people and starting to seriously regret having asked the whole family to stay. You're already sick of food and even more sick of cooking. So you send them all off to have a pizza somewhere and you have your kitchen to yourself. Now you make yourself the best omelette ever and eat it at a properly laid table with a cold glass of Iona Cy. This is pretty much my favourite meal. If you keep hens as we do, go and collect some eggs ... Or buy free range. Simple dishes require good ingredients. Making any egg dish properly is always about temperature – but follow me and I'll show you a good time ...

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Magna Cauda and One Man Band White

I'm useless at snacks (this is what happens when you had a mother who blasted you if you let so much as a sprig of parsley pass your lips before a meal in case you "ruined your appetite"), and so I prefer to do this dish as a starter. It's essentially a "warm bath" of anchovy and garlic sauce into which you dip a variety of raw or lightly steamed vegetables. I use half a slightly baked red pepper per person as a little container for the warm sauce.

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Roast Duck with Apples, Prunes and Iona Pinot Noir

I'm including this Roast Duck recipe because it's what I would want to eat with Iona Pinot Noir 2015. Juliette and Jacqui, my trusty advisors who know much more about food and wine pairing than I do, tell me it should be seared Salmon – no question. But I'm writing this so I get to choose.

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Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder paired with Solace Syrah

We all need a slow cooked meat dish in our repertoire. It basically means you can cook a meal for 12 people without exhausting yourself or ending up in the nut house. The genius of this recipe is that it is a complete doddle to make, it cooks while you sleep, literally – so you need to start this the evening before the day you need it, and has the advantage of being able to be two entirely different meals, depending on what you fancy. I will explain this at the end ... I am well aware that eating Pig is forbidden by most major religions but this one is for the Christians and their "Christmas" and of course any other universal soldiers out there.

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Mussels paired with Iona Sauvignon Blanc

Some folk are daunted by serving mussels at home, but if you have access to fresh mussels (frozen are horrible ... don't even go there) then I can't think of an easier way to make a really special but casual lunch. I get mine from the Gordon's Bay Fisheries and they are bullet proof. Served with Iona Sauvignon Blanc and some crusty bread this is Christmas holidays in a bowl.

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Tosca Blueberry Cake with Mr P Pinot Noir

So the wine doesn't actually go with the cake. I'm of the opinion that no dry wine goes with pudding – not even very bitter chocolate ones. I'm also determined to give you a dessert recipe because it is Christmas after all, and I happen to think this is a tip-top one. So having said all that, I suggest you just drink the wine while making the cake ...

The smell of toasted almonds and ripe blueberries are your pairing to this bright jewel of a wine and you can listen to Puccini's beloved opera of the same name in who's honour this cake was supposedly named if you really want to get into the spirit of things.

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