My first visit to Elgin! One of the goals of this trip is to visit regions that previously I’d missed – Elgin, Elim, Hemel-en-Aarde.
So it was off to Iona this morning, to visit the vineyards with Andrew Gunn (above) and then taste with a group of producers: Paul Cluver, Oak Valley, Shannon and Iona.
This is a genuinely cool climate region: a plateau at altitude surrounded by mountains, with altitude ranging from 300-600 metres above sea level.
Andries Burger and Paul Cluver began the tasting with a pair of 1997 Sauvignons: one the regular, unoaked version; the second a barrel-fermented style. They were both remarkably good, but the barrel-fermented wine was fresher, with purer fruit, and was just delicious. Who’d have thought it?
There’s something special about Elgin. I tried a range of wines, including some serious Riesling, serious Sauvignon (look out for Iona 2010 – brilliant), and great Chardonnay. There were even reds: a cool-climate Syrah, Pinot Noirs in different styles, and a silky Merlot. The standard of the wines was really high. Full write-up to follow. I came away enthused, and with a full belly after a wonderful lunch prepared by Andrew’s wife Rosie.