Zimbabwe/South Africa
hosted by Monty Friendship

Introduction

My name is Monty Friendship and I have been involved with wine for 30 years, traveling to all the major wine producing areas worldwide on a regular basis, tasting the new vintages and re-newing contacts.

I write a weekly column on wine and was the restaurant critic for the Independent and National News newspapers for 5 years and continues to write regular articles for numerous magazines on a freelance basis.

I'm a contributor to the Tom Stevenson publications " World Champagnes", "Sothebyís World Wine Encyclopedia" , the Hugh Johnson " Wine Companion " and Jancis Robinsonís "Oxford Companion to Wine". He contributed to the annual John Platter South African Wine Guide for several years.

I wrote and presented, " Friendship and Wine " on ZBC radio for 6 years and wrote and presented the 13 week TV series on ZBCTV entitled " Of Wine and Friendship".

I have been elected to the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, of Burgundy, to the South African Association of Wine Writers, the International Federation of Wine and Spirit Journalists and to the Circle of Wine Writers (International). He holds the Certificate in Judging of Wine issued by the Wine and Spirit Trust of South Africa and has been a Guest Judge at the South African National Wine Show (Veritas Awards).

I have consulted in the selection, blending and maturation of red and white wines for 10 years and has also given professional advice in regard to wine marketing to numerous importers and producers.

Currently living in Stellenbosch, in the Cape, I'm a lecturer at all levels for the Cape Wine Academy, Contributing Editor of World Wine Trade magazine based in Spain and is columnist for " Out of Africa International" which is published both in England and in Australia. He is also a contributor to Grape Magazine, Cape Review and Cape Odyssey.

My eMail address is montyf@iafrica.com

Zimbabwe

Countless thousands of people visit Zimbabwe every year. Are you one of those that stick to the South African wines that you know and drink regularly at home? When you are in another Country, try the local wines, expand your horizons a little! I hope what follows will take some of the mystery away for you.

The first wines were produced in 1965. They were of very dubious quality with no continuity and some strange grape varieties like Jacques, Issor and Farrazza were planted! These vines are almost all gone now and imported "noble" varieties are planted throughout Zimbabwe. The average yield is 9 tonnes per hectare.

Over the last decade tremendous progress has been made. Irrigation, cold fermentation, modern equipment and winemakers trained overseas in Germany, Australia and South Africa and the use of "flying winemaker" consultants have brought about a complete change in quality.

The winemaker at Mukuyu is Samuel Pfidzayi who was trained by Achim Von Arnim in South Africa and at the Roseworthy Wine Institute in Australia. The Cellar Manager at Mukuyu is Berthold Seitz, trained at the Geisenheim Institute in Germany. Philip Elliot is the Zimbabwean trained winemaker at Stapleford and the use of Clive Hartnell in a "flying" capacity adds to the standards. Clive is a New Zealander and was an instructor at Roseworthy, he now does a vintage in South Africa, Hungary and Zimbabwe every year.

Zimbabwe lies on the same line of latitude as much of Bolivia and Southern Brazil and has Summer rains, largely from November to April, with February being the wettest month, generally. The harvest is taken in from November-January and moisture can therefore be a real problem. Sunlight is present in abundance, however, with average daily sunshine of 8 hours. Mean annual temperatures of about 18.8 degrees C and an average of 27.5 days of frost between June and August all serve to keep the growers on their toes. The prevailing wind is from the East, blowing off the warm Madagascan coast.

Zimbabwean wines have won over 100 Silver and Bronze medals at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London over the last 13 years. Including 2 Silver and 6 Bronze in 1996. The wines have been accepted as being of outstanding value and exports to England will commence shortly.

Producers

There are only two wine producers in Zimbabwe, Mukuyu (Cairns Holdings) and Stapleford (African Distillers)...

Mukuyu

Mukuyu is owned by Cairns Holdings and have their winery and vineyards at Marondera, 60 kilometers from Harare. The vineyards are 1350 metres above sea level with an average rainfall of 860mm. They produce 1.5million litres per annum from 100 hectares under vines.

Symphony Range: Z$ 21-27

    Dry Red: Pinotage/Merlot 11.65%alc. Jammy, fresh fruit, sweet on entry, though dry. Very gluggable. ***
    Rose': Pinotage/Cinsaut 10.76%alc. Delightful golden pink, dash of sweetness balanced with refreshing acids, fruity. Great picnic fare. ***

Meadows Range: Z$ 25-28

    L'Etoile 10.7%alc ( Gewurztraminer/Cruchen Blanc/Riesling/Chenin Blanc/Bukettraube blend) Fruity nose and palate, dry and attractive. ***
    Coteaux 13%alc ( Cab Sauv/Merlot/Shiraz/Pinotage blend) ** and Colombar 10.67%alc **

Select Range: Z$ 27-30

    Sauvignon Blanc 10.92%alc ***
    Merlot 12.03%alc and Pinot Noir 12.75%alc, both **

Mukuyu Range: Z$ 17-29

    Pinotage 11.5%alc. Tinned jam. Soft and drinkable. Very popular **
    Cab/Merlot 13.1%alc, Chardonnay 12.3%alc, Cabernet Sauvignon 12%alc and Bin 16 11.1%alc all **
    A very nice m/c Sparkler in Brut de Brut 12%alc,4,2g/l RS, good beads and mousse, yeasty and good acids ***
    Also in Medium 11.15%alc, 9g/l RS ** Z$30

The New Vineyard Range caters for the "jug" market.

Also produce fruit coolers, and a very drinkable Port.

P.O. Box 1813, Harare. T: (9-263-4) 620410/9 F: 620429/620431.
Winery Tours by appointment, picnic and braai area but no food available.

African Distillers (Stapleford Wines)

Commenced wine making in 1966. Produce 5 million litres from vineyards in Bulawayo, Gweru and Odzi, 180 hectares in extent. Large winery in Gweru and main organisation just North of Harare. Buy in 40% of grapes from private producers. 70% of vines recently replanted in South African imported noble varieties. Large jug sales of Green Valley red and white, very affordable and has its following.

Private Cellar Range: Z$ 25-28

    Cordon Rouge ( Blend of Ruby Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage) 11.2alc, fruity, jammy, accessible ***
    Blanc Fume (100% Sauvignon Blanc)11.4alc. Asparagus, tinned peas, guavas. Really super! ***(*)
    Muscat (100%) 10.3alc elegant, floral, rose petals and violets. Easy drinking ***
    Colombard 10.8alc perfumed, fruity, refreshing acids. ***
    Emerald Steen (Chenin Blanc) 11.4alc, Cab/Merlot (80%-20%) 11.2alc. both **

Also produce m/c sparkler Le Grand Charlemagne Z$ 21 and the inexpensive La Rochelle Z$ 16 and Gerac Z$ 10 Ranges, plus all the spirits, Port and Sherry.

P.O. Box 2346 Harare. T: (9-263-4) 308351, 302119, 303823 F: 303083.