Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2023


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Additional information


South Africa




94% Sauvignon Blanc; 6% Semillon




16.5+ Points Jancis Robinson MW, Trophy for Best Value White Wine, The Wine Merchant Top 100 in 2022, 92 Points Tim Atkin MW: South Africa Report 2023

Good to know

Organic & Biodynamic practices, Vegan

Tasting Notes

Iona Sauvignon Blanc has an aromatic nose with fine mineral notes with gooseberry and grapefruit aromas. The palate is so well balanced and elegant, with classic Sauvignon Blanc flavours of grapefruit and light gooseberry fruit mingled with tropical fruit and a long, smooth finish. It is a beautifully pure, textured Sauvignon and the tiny addition of barrel-fermented Semillon just gives a smoothness, and added complexity, whilst retaining the wine’s fresh, enigmatic appeal.

Andrew and Rosy Gunn’s vineyards are located in the Highlands of Elgin to the South East of Cape Town. They are situated on a mountain plateau at 420 metres surrounded by the Kogelburg Nature Reserve where the prevailing winds off the cold Atlantic ocean, account for the layered nuances of their Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes ripen slowly here, often some 2 months later than other Cape vineyards. Winemaker, Werner Muller is one of the most highly respected winemakers in South Africa and Iona wine range continues to go from strength to strength. This vintage includes 6% Semillon fermented with indigenous yeast in 500-litre barrels and in oak for 6 months, but the oak is imperceptible.

Akin to a Sancerre style, this stunning Sauvignon Blanc has a long, layered and complex finish. Year on year this wine consistently wins acclaim from wine writers those below show the terrific consistency of this wine. Andrew Gunn believes that their 2023 vintage of Sauvignon Blanc is their best vintage ever! Tim Atkin MW has awarded it 92 Points.

This wine sells in other Independent Merchants £14.99 – £19.99; check out our competitive price


2023 Vintage

“Picked early in a cool climate in what Werner Muller admits was a “stressful vintage”, Iona’s Sauvignon Blanc is often easy to recognise in a blind line-up, thanks to its combination of gooseberry and grapefruit flavours. A little bit of barrel fermentation adds another layer of spicy complexity. Drink 2023-26: 92 Points: Tim Atkin MW, Special Report South Africa 2023

2021 Vintage

“Herbal nose and definitely has its own character. Real lime and life. Lots of bite and structure. Long.” 2021 Vintage review 16.5+/20 points: (Drink 2022 – 2030) Jancis Robinson MW Purple Pages 2022 

A Sauvignon Blanc that delivers more complexity than its competitors, this stylish Elgin white contains 6% Semillon and a touch of oak influence from larger barrels. Green apple and grapefruit flavours proceed to a tangy, herbal and well-balanced finish. Drink 2022 – 26: 91 Points: Tim Atkin MW, Special Report South Africa 2022

2020 Vintage

“Gooseberry is definitely present on the nose, albeit in a relatively restrained form. There’s lemon, honey and something herbal too…the body is fuller, and the acid softer, than you might expect. Soft and textured with very good food-friendliness, thanks to the balanced fruit intensity and smooth mouthfeel.” 16.5/20 points Jancis Robinson MW, Purple Pages 2021

“With a 7 percent portion of Semillon, the 2020 is wild fermented in second and third fill 500 litre barrels and offers aromatics of green apple, white pear, lemon grass and a hint of capsicum peppers. The wine is mellow and fine tuned, beautifully integrated and fresh with crystalline purity, bright acids and a complex, pithy, stony mineral finish. Drinking very well now with an overt, harmonious finesse. 92 Points, Greg Sherwood MW May 2022.

2019 Vintage

“The aromatics are filled with lemongrass and tangerine peel complexity, this wine has mouth-watering vigour and enthralling allure and focus. … This is benchmark cool climate Elgin Sauvignon Blanc, that really ticks all the pleasure boxes.  92+ Points, Greg Sherwood MW: April 2020

“Quite vibrant, fresh. Racy and easy to like. The Iona team are particularly proud that their Sauvignon never develops the canned asparagus character that can affect some Marlborough Sauvignons. 16.5 Points; Jancis Robinson MW, Purple Pages 2020.

“There is good reason that Iona Sauvignon Blanc enjoys a premium over many of its competitors: its consistent quality since 2001. Made with 11 clones from nine blocks and including 4% wooded Semillon, it’s complex, assertive, nettley and bone dry with thrilling palate length. Drink 2019 – 2022. 92 points. Tim Atkin MW: Special Report South Africa 2019

2018 Vintage

“Texture is the missing link in Sauvignon Blanc” says Werner Muller, who used 4% Semillon and some barrel fermentation in this justifiably successful expression of the grape. Grapefruity, tangy and herbal with crunchy acidity and good weight. Drink 2018 – 2021.  92 points. Tim Atkin MW: Special Report South Africa 2018

“Grapefruit, spice and a slightly hoppy note, long and graceful and with a soft-focus edges that make this easy to drink. The nose has superb, flinty chalky character – very much a Loire style. Excellent length.”   17 Points.  Drink 2018 – 2022.  Richard Hemming MW in Jancis Robinson MW, Purple Pages November 2018.


…”This Sauvignon Blanc has a quality-to-price ratio that far outstrips most of its peers, be they from the Loire, Marlborough, Chile or anywhere else.”   Richard Hemming MW in Jancis Robinson Purple Pages September 2018

You can find out more about Iona, and see photos of its amazingly beautiful situation in our blog post on our News & Views Page.

The story behind Iona

There is an interesting story behind Iona which was established as a vineyard and winery in 1998/99; their first vintage was a Sauvignon Blanc 2001. In early 1997, Andrew Gunn, an engineer by training was contemplating his next career move. Having always loved the outdoors, the prospect of farming appealed to him and feeling young and energetic enough to start a new career, left the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg to begin the search for the ‘perfect’ farm.

After months of searching and 40 farm visits later, Andrew and a very tired estate agent stumbled upon a solitary run down apple farm on a mountain top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The prospect of a suitable farm in Elgin intrigued Andrew and on driving through the valley, he became excited by the beauty of the area. Surrounded by the Kogelberg Biosphere and Forestry the property had no agricultural neighbours. The rolling hills and the drive up the mountain to where the farm was situated, 420 meters above sea level, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, was unlike anything he had ever seen. It was love at first sight.

Andrew decided to name the “farm” and winery as “Iona”, after the island off the West Coast of Scotland, where Andrew’s ancestors hail from; it has become one of South Africa’s top producers of Sauvignon Blanc, in particular.

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