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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES #192 (article first published : 2008-03-6; last edited : [an error occurred while processing this directive])

Topiary is the gentle art of trimming bushes and hedges into decorative shapes, and it is the name of the newest winery in the Franschhoek area, this because its garden has many sculpted plants.

Topiary Wines lies at the foot of the Wemmershoek mountains and the cellar’s owner, Roy Andrews, is a University of KwaZulu-Natal graduate with a background far removed from viticulture. He grew up in Zimbabwe and received a B.Sc. degree from UKZN. He became a teacher but soon decided that business would suit him better and, after some experience with a banking group, he became a management consultant with a global consulting group.

In 2001 he left the business world to research the wine industry and in 2005 he bought a 63-hectare farm called La Tramontane, renaming it Topiary. In the past three years he has developed 20 hectares of vineyards and has taken two harvests through his cellar, with the help of his winemaker Chris Albrecht and his farm manager and viticulturist Malcolm Pemberton. Malcolm Pemberton, also an ex-Zimbabwean, is the man responsible for the topiary at the farm, and at present 26 of his plant sculptures adorn the premises.

The cellar has just released its first four wines: Chenin blanc 2007, with hints of guava and kiwi fruit, approximate retail price R35; Chardonnay 2007, tones of pineapple and citrus, lightly oaked, R40; Rosé 2007, delicate pink, with floral bouquet, R34; Cabernet sauvignon 2005, red berry notes, full-bodied, R65. Later this year the cellar will launch a shiraz and a shiraz-cabernet sauvignon blend.

The farm has a tasting room which is now open for tasting and sales and is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Phone 021 867 0258.

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Distell, the big producer of wines and spirits, did well in the second six months of last year, increasing its sales by 7,6 per cent, with a revenue of R4,8 billion.

Revenue from African countries grew 23,8 percent, and the company’s managing director, Jan Scannell, has commented: “We are well placed to meet the demands of a new generation of affluent, mobile Africans’. In what he described as a fragmented and highly competitive market, wine sales had shown a growth of 1,9 percent.

Allesverloren estate, the oldest wine farm in the Swartland, north of Cape Town, has won distinction in Sweden. The 2006 Allesverloren Shiraz was judged the best red wine of 2007 by a Swedish wine magazine, Allt om Vin. The judging was done by 33 leading wine writers.

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Allesverloren Shiraz, which has rich aromas and flavours of plums, prunes and raspberries, is available in South Africa at about R70 a bottle.




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