Month: November 2020

A Semillon Affair (Part2)

Semillon Affair (Part2)


In our previous post we have explained the Morningstar Semillon. Our next Semillon originates out of the beautiful Franschhoek Valley and is named Robertsvleipad Semillon.Naming the wines after the roads that leads to vineyard is a practice that is used in the Hunter Valley.


This vineyard is planted 20 years ago and consists only of the GD1 clone that is synonymous with the Semillon vines you will find in the Hunter Valley. Franschhoek is also known in South Africa as the mecca of Semillon. Semillon is just one of those varieties that gives you,as a winemaker,so many options and different styles to make.


The Robertsvleipad Semillon is 100% stainless steel fermented and aged on the lees for 10 months before bottling. Our aim is to sell only 20% of our production every year and build up a vintage that you as a consumer always have the option of vintages.


When we arrived back from the Hunter Valley,we purchased two smallstainless-steel tanks to specially produce our Semillon’s. In 2018 the maiden vintage of the Morningstar and Robertsvleipad Semillon,our two tanks were too small for the amount of grapes received. I decided to co-ferment approx. 500kg of each vineyard in a Flextank and inoculate the wine with Lafford Spark yeast. This type of yeast is predominantly used to make MCC (Champagne) style wines. The idea to use Champagne yeast was advised by Tulloch Wines. That was the birth of our Bizoe Crossroad Semillon.


During our time in the Hunter Valley we met amazing people and tasted great wines. Wines and people that stood out during our trips,were the wines of Andrew Thomas (Thomo) Wines that specialise in Shiraz and Semillon. No wonder we had a great time and tasting with Andrew. Our other highlight was spending an afternoon with the great Ian Riggs of Brokenwood Wines. Ian just recently being inducted as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) – Congratulations Ian!The Wealthof knowledge I received from Ian, Bruce and Andrew is much appreciated.

A Semillon Affair

A Semillon Affair  – Rikus Love of Semillon


Andrew Spinaze and Bruce Tyrrell

Andrew Spinaze, Rikus Neethling and Bruce Tyrrell

What’s Rikus obsession with Semillon? In 2017 I have visited the Hunter Valley Wine Region approx 1,5 hours drive from Sydney, Australia.During my time in the Hunter Valley I met and tasted some Semillon wines with some of the best Hunter Valley winemakers

In one of the tastings with Andrew Spinaze and Bruce Tyrrell from Tyrrell’s Wines, Bruce mentioned that some of the first Semillon plantings in the late 1800’s is actually from the Western Cape of South Africa. This made me think, if the Aussie’s are making name with our plant material I will come back to SA and produce a similar style Semillon.

Back in South Africa, I went on the hunt for Semillon grapes. After a few phone calls to a well know viticulturist in South Africa I was advised to speak to Albé Truter of Morningstar Farm in Darling. Albé and my paths crossed for the first time in 2006 when we both worked together in the Southern France region of Picpoul de Pinet. What a pleasure to be connected again with one of my friends and an even better feeling working together on a project that both of us love.

On Morningstar there is similarities in the soil compared to the Hunter Valley soil structures. More interesting on the Morningstar Semillon block there is 3 different Semillon clones interplanted. GD1 that is the typical clones that planted in Hunter Valley, GD 315 originated in France and GD14 US Davis  clone. This is an important aspect that gives our Bizoe Morningstar Semillon a unique character. 

Our philosophy is to pick on the pH and the acidity level of the grapes. The Bizoe Morningstar Semillon 2018 has ended up with and alcohol of 10.5% and the 2019 with 12.5%. Both vintages were picked on the same Ph and Acidity levels. Amazing to taste the 2 vintages next to one another is see the difference between the wines from the same vineyard.

Our love of Semillon will continue in our next blog.

Scroll to top