Andrew Gunn's Iona



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Matthew Jukes is the wine buyer for Bibendum restaurant and Oyster bar in London, which has won Best Restaurant Wine List at the Carlton Food Awards. He has also written wine lists, to rave reviews, for Chutney Mary, Monte's and many other restaurants in the UK and abroad. He presented his own weekly radio feature on the BBC for five years.  He also presented Channel 4's six-part TV series Wine Hunt and was a regular guest on BBC1's prime-time Saturday night programme Friends Like These. He is the author of Wine (1999) and the number one best-selling wine guides The Wine List 2002 and 2003, and now The Wine List 2004, all published by Headline. 

In April 2002 he was awarded the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Trophy for Communicator of the Year.

2003 Iona Sauvignon Blanc

Door Matthew Jukes van - uitgave 32: South Africa (11/06/04)

One of our favourite Sauvignon Blancs in the whole world!

"Sauvignon Blanc as I have already mentioned in the intro Sauvignon is one of the most important white grapes for South Africa. Style-wise SA Sauvignon is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and with the class of wine in the front row, they cannot possibly fail to attract a thirsty world audience."

Iona Sauvignon Blanc is a complete and utter stunner. It is one of my favourite Sauvignon Blancs in the whole world. It is not the flashiest or most aromatic, it is also not necessarily the most age-worthy or flamboyant. In fact putting my finger on why it fires me up so much is trickier than I thought.

One thing that does grab me every time I open the wine, though, is the all pervasive sense of calm that washes over me when I take a sip - this very much, I believe, reflects owner Andrew Gunn's outlook on life. Iona effortlessly impresses me and unlike other top end wines there is no need for it to shout en scream to be noticed, as the quality is waitong for you to wallow in and enjoy. Do something nice for yourself this weekend, treat your palate, and bathe it in this wine.

Of course, the classic Sauvignon notes are all there - the unnerving, citrus shiver down my spine kicks off on the very first sniff, then stays until the empty bottle is in the recycling bin a week later. The phenomenal burst of high tensile lemon and lime fruit and the gripping green herb and pear palate is heavenly. The finish is daring, with white-knuckle acidity and it harbours a desire to completely re-align your taste buds every time you take a sip. There is depth here, too, and serious length, and when Andrew bottles this sensational wine in screwcaps, in 2004, I don't doubt that it will be even more captivating, if that is possible.

I was lucky enough to taste some fermenting 2004 Sauvignon juice at the winery (four separate cuvée components), and I have a suspicion that it will be even more impressive than this awe-inspiring 2003. Niels Verburg of Luddite, a terrific bloke with a palate as wicked as his grin, is the winemaking consultant to Iona, and with a brand new winery on site, this is the Sauvignon model to which all others must aspire. It is worth bearing in mind that the first bottled vintage at Iona was 2001, so the fact that the wines are this good is completely staggering!

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