Iona Red Blend
Ashbourne Pinotage 2018

A way of feeling at home in this world

In his book, The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting, Neel Burton talks about wine as a kind of homecoming, “a way of feeling at home in this world.”

I felt that when I met Andrew Gunn for the first time. It was like I wanted to paint him in his long coat, walking over the lawn towards this beautiful old house, excited to introduce me to his wife, Rozy.

A larger-than-life personality for sure with a petite yet tenacious Rozy by his side, realized a dream of living in the countryside and parenting a wine project that took on a life of its own under the guardianship of winemaker Werner Muller.

The highest winery in Elgin

Iona is situated along the Southern ridge of the Elgin valley, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at 450m. Iona has the highest winery in Elgin and the coolest growing season in South Africa.

36 hectares of vineyards

The first vineyard was planted in 1998, and the last apple trees pulled out six years ago, making space for a total of 36 hectares of vineyards


The term “Monopole” celebrates the fact that Iona wines are produced from grapes grown in the vineyards which they own exclusively. They don’t sell or buy in grapes.

” The One Man Band Red Blend is the epiphany of a seamlessly executed concerto where five varieties are blended to create music for the wine soul.”
– Samarie Smith


  • Tomato can be challenging in wine pairings. Still, the Italians have figured out this marriage long before tourists could pronounce Parmigiano-Reggiano. The One Man Band has a fresh acidity to match the tartness of the tomato.

  • The generous fruit profile of the wine is best suited to grilled or caramelised cherry tomatoes; rather avoid fresh tomato.
  • A few twigs of rosemary will match the distinctive peppery character of this cool climate wine. This aromatic explosion can easily overshadow the subtleties in the wine so be careful not to overdo it.
  • Be generous with Parmigiano-Reggiano as this wine exudes the same personality.
  • Truffle oil complements the earthy character in the wine and mingle with other perfumed notes like violets and wildflowers.

The perfect pasta sauce;

All you need:

  • two cans of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. sugar, salt and pepper to taste

The secret is to be patient and to reduce your sauce. Heat your oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic over medium heat for about three minute. Be careful not to over fry them. Add the tomatoes, the rosemary and oregano. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Allow the sauce to reduce for 20 minutes and add the sugar, salt and pepper to flavour. Reduce for a further 15 minutes.

Our Experience

It doesn’t matter what time of the day you visit Iona; whether it is the slivers of mist caressing the post-seasonal vines or the weight of a dog leaning against you, staring out over the vineyards; there is a magic about this place.

Our latest visit was to taste their One Man Band Red Blend and to catch up with Rozy about why this wine has captured the imagination of so many wine lovers.

Being an artist herself and understanding the magic of working the land that gave shape to this red blend, Rozy’s long-standing friendship with the sculptor Bruce Arnott led to the collaboration of his bronze sculpture “One Man Band” being used as the name of the wine. It was also the inspiration for the graphic illustration on the bottle.


One is entranced by the bottle, your fingers seeking out the details and textures of the label. It is the first introduction to a multi-layered wine, representing the detail required in making a harmonious red blend.

Rozy pours us a sip as the sun peeks out from behind the threatening weather clouds, and the family of dogs runs out to bathe in this warm, bright light.

“Blending affords the luxury of gauging the impact each new season has on each varietal component. The blend is never a fixed affair in terms of each variety’s proportion but rather a celebration of what thrived under the unique conditions.”

It is not a big wine; none of their wines are. But then it depends on how you define “big”. All their wines, be it, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or a blend of cultivars, embodies this homecoming we talked about earlier. There is an ethereal nature to this wine, and as you lower your nose into it, you become fascinated by what it wants to tell you. It’s like your sensorial world opens its wings to put a name to the different, subtle nuances: blackberries, cured ham, wild mushrooms, red currents, raw leather, freshly picked violets, bay leaves, ginger, nightshades, potpourri, wild flowers … You pause before taking a sip, creating some anticipation for your senses before lifting the glass to your mouth.

The wine fills your mouth ever so gently, launching itself over your tongue like a veil of aromas and flavours without pulling it down or being obtrusive. Gentle yet powerful at the same time. It cannot be easy, so make a wine sing like this and capture the harmony of robust cultivars while bringing it together in such a delicate symphony.

Moreish for sure. And the perfume …

After taking a sip of this wine, you will notice how the tannin tugs at that space between your upper lip and your gums. You will feel how its chalkiness washes to the back of your pallet, leaving an almost porcelain-like coating at the sides of your mouth. Now, while you want that to linger, remember that the cosmos invites some positive disruption in a perfect world. If cooked with love, like Georgio always does, the sweet yet tartness of roasted baby tomato will pass through your mouth like a cat, caressing that tannin by adding a zesty, sweet finish. It is hard to explain until you try this for yourself. That is the sweet spot when the magic of food and wine pairing happens. Now, make some fresh pasta, pick fresh lavender from the garden for a warm bath a bit later, and enjoy a magical, Italian-inspired evening with your loved one.

See it for yourself

Gallery of our experience.
This is where their “obsession with quality” stems from:
All images copyright Samarie Smith and/or the featured estate.

To have your wine featured and reviewed, please contact us.


Samarie +27 82 072 5451

Georgio +27 83 326 3016