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Can Malbec be proudly South African

I think there should be more Malbec in South Africa! According to me Malbec has a South African personality. 

Argentinian Malbec has become so popular around the world that wine drinkers associate the Malbec grape with Argentina. I would like to argue the fact as there is so many similarities of Malbec and South Africa. If you think about the perfect food to match a bottle of Malbec, my first thought would be grilled meats – South Africa is known for its love of braai. In my opinion a perfect food match would be a medium-rare rib-eye cut cooked on “kameeldoring” and a side option would be as simple as fresh cut potatoes fries or as we in South Africa say “slap chips.”

In 2009 DNA test has determine that Malbec is a crossing of Magdalene Noir and Prunelard.  Malbec thick skinned black grape originate from Auxxerios in South France, mostly grown in Cahors France.  In 2003 I had the privilege to travel to Argentina with a friend that is also a winemaker today. Patrolling the streets of Buenos Aires in searching for great bottles of Malbec. 

Malbec known for its black cherry, Plum, Raspberry, Caccoa, Leather, Black Pepper, and Tabaco flavours. Malbec is also a vine that thrives in high altitude much like the South African people after winning the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Elections coming up in a few weeks the other characteristic of Malbec is that the grape has thick skin.

Bizoe Idioglossia Malbec 2019 is our current vintage that is available on our online store. Idioglossia translated from ancient Greek is a language invented by one child or by children who are in close contact, as twins. As we are blessed with twin boys and experienced it in their early development, there is no greater pleasure for me and Estalet to have named our Bizoe Malbec after our twins Andre and Retief.

Let’s get some Malbec in the glass as most of us will watch the final episode of Chasing the Sun 2 on Sunday night and let’s celebrate the uniqueness of South Africa and Malbec!

The LOVE language of WINE

2024 has barely started and we have already celebrated another Valentines Day. I am sure some of you shared a bottle of Bizoe Wines for the first, second and numerous times with your partner.

Harvest is on the go, running in the cellar is the thing I love most about making wine. Receiving grapes, handle it with care, then make sure it will be enjoyed one day with the special one in your life. The harvest currently is producing good quality grapes that’s extremely concentrated and packed with flavours. We can all be looking forward for the 2024 season wines to be released in the future.

In the vineyards, we have people smiling and chatting away, the sound of clipping scissors in the background as the grapes is getting picked and transported to the cellar. There is just no better time in the Boland than harvest time. When the harvest is done, we will start to focus on the 2025 harvest, looking at post-harvest fertilisation and soil treatments. The vineyards will go into rest once the winter arrive and spring back into action when spring arrive.

Bizoe Henrietta 2020 and Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2019 will be our wines off choice during the month. On warm days nothing is better than to have than a chilled Bizoe Henrietta, and as the evening progress and cold evening arrives then a Bizoe Estalet Syrah is just the right wine to get warmed up from the inside again! 

Hope you all are having a fantastic February, and I am looking forward giving an update on the harvest in our next newsletter in March.

I’m SIXTEEN going on SEVENTEEN

Can’t believe we are starting a new year already, 2024 is here! Not sure if its age but it feels like we are turning years now like days. About to start my 17th harvest with Bizoe Wines. Like they say, time flies when you are having fun.

Our year ended with some amazing news from British Wine Journalist Dr Jamie Goode. Jamie tasted the Bizoe Henrietta Semillon/Sauvignon blanc 2020 and rated it with a 93 points. 

Written by Jamie on www.wineanorak.com –  “12% alcohol. Sauvignon blanc and Semillon. This is vivid and well defined with a mineral, saline edge to quite intense citrus and pear fruit, as well as some spicy, smokey character. There’s some citrus peel here with good acidity and real weight to the palate, with has intense notes of guava and pear, finishing finely spiced. Intriguing and detailed, and hard to categorise. The Semillon is flourishing in this blend. 93/100

Hot, dry summer in the Cape at the moment, looks like we might have an earlier harvest than expected. After “veraison” easier seen in red grapes, when the colour of the grapes changes from green to red, sugar loading is taking place in the berry. During this period it’s important to manage the water supply of the vine. As much as we don’t want rain during the harvest to prevent rot on the grapes, I think a good batch of rain pre harvest will be amazing at the moment. 

The cellar is ready to welcome the 2024 grapes to arrive soon. After sampling some of the vineyards yesterday I think we are about 10/14 days away from bringing our first grapes. Gives us just enough time to make sure all the maintenance is done in the cellar.  

As in life lots of things changed when you turned 17, at Bizoe we are looking forward to an exciting year and yes, we have a new wine planned to celebrate our 17th vintage. 

Wine-ing Down to the End of the Year

Can’t believe we are already in November and harvest is just 3 months away. It’s quite a while since I have written a blog. So many things happened in between my last blog and now, the only consistent is that we are the Rugby World Cup Champions!

Talking about Rugby World Cup, I have just returned from Tokyo, Japan. We attended an event from Wines of South Africa in Tokyo. What was interesting to me was the knowledge the Japanese have about South Africa and specially our beloved Springboks. As many of our boys plays in the local Japanese league. South African Wines can thank the Springboks for help putting our wines on the tables in Japan.

The vineyards are busy flowering and fruit is setting. Got to say at this stage its looking promising and we are looking forward to the 2024 harvest that is around the corner. For now, until harvest season it’s all about managing the canopy as we call it. Canopy in vineyard terms is basically the shoots and leaves. We need enough leaves to help to ripen the grapes, but we also need to remove some of the leaves to make sure there is enough airflow and sunlight entering the canopy.  As we had a very wet season the soils are still moist and help with growth of the vineyard.

In the cellar we had a quiet time the last few weeks, and for me been on the road also during this time. From now to the end of the year we will bottle some of our new vintage wines. Some maintenance will also be done on some of the equipment to ensure that we are ready when harvest is starting. 

We have two more wine events planned for the year. I will be showing our Bizoe and Rikus Neethling Wines at Boonstoppel Wijnen in Dordrecht on 17th of November. Our last event for the year will be at Barringtons in Plettenberg Bay in December. Lets all get behind the Proteas and raise a Bizoe glass to all our sportsmen and woman that makes us such a proud nation.

Let’s go Bokke!

The past few weeks I have found myself in different parts of the country. One of the things that stands out right now is that everyone is talking about our boys in Green and Gold. I believe they will bring back the William Webb Ellis Cup.

As things are slowing down in the cellar, it’s heating up in the vineyards. The first vines are starting to bud and shoots and leaves are developing. Like I said last year in a blog post, there is a few things better than seeing new life in the vineyard. When I am not travelling spreading Bizoe Wines love, you will find me in the vineyards or between the barrels.

Just the other week I met up with some people in Grahamstown doing a Bizoe Wines evening for them in Makanda (Grahamstown). Now I look forward going back there to visit my friends. Matthew Weaver I met at the yearly Graaff-Reinet Stoeptasting over a glass of wine. Jokingly he invited me to come and do a wine evening for them in Grahamstown. When we wiped our eyes there I was in Grahamstown. As mentioned, I went as guy to sell wine, now I have 24 friends in Grahamstown. Just like the Bokke brings us together, wine has the same effect to bring people together.

Last week I spent the week in Kwa-Zulu Natal working in the market with Duncan and Lua from Vine Vintage. Visiting the north coast always brings back childhood memories when we used to go there on holidays to Umloti. Wineology little wine shop in Salt Rock will always be one of my favourite spots to drink a glass of wine.

Next week the yearly Grape Hustle Wine Tour is taking place. 15 Wineries travelling together in Garden Route with our agents The Grape Hustle. Followed by a trip to the Lowveld to be at Unwined Festival at Nelspruit Golf Club on 30th of September.  

Bizoe Estalet Syrah & Henriëtta

Yes, we’ve had plenty of rain, and we’re all looking forward to warmer weather and sunny days! New season brings new life to the vineyards.The beginning of the growing season, the start of a new vintage. Pruning of the vineyards is in full swing.

August, Women’s Month, is a fitting time to talk about the two wines named after the two most special women in my life: Bizoe Henriëtta and Bizoe Estalet Syrah.

Henriëtta, my mother a woman who dedicated her life for us and continues to do so for us. She sees only the best in people and protects those she loves like a mother bear protects her cubs. Bizoe Henriëtta, a wine made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, is the perfect tribute to her and her name, which fittingly translates to “ruler of the house.”

The grapes for Bizoe Estalet Syrah are sourced from De Liefde farm in the small town of Wolseley in the Breedekloof Valley. Everything about Bizoe Estalet Syrah embodies the uniqueness of the terroir. This uniqueness and authenticity perfectly describe my wife and mother of our children, who, like her favorite bird the Knock Knee, keeps us warm under her wings. Bizoe Estalet Syrah has become a beloved wine in many households around the world, just as Estalet is cherished in our own home.

I want to thank these two amazing women for what they do for us in real life and in a bottle!

Rain, Sunshine, Wine and Fun

Looking back at the past month, this is how I can describe the past 30 days. Returning from London, I made a stop in Johannesburg, Carltonville, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), St Francis, Windhoek and Greyton. 

Although we spend some time on the road, work in the cellar is continuing, some winemakers will describe this part of the year as bottling season. Bottling is going at full speed now, and we will be releasing some exciting new wines in the next few months, one to be on the lookout for the release is a new Rikus Neethling Cabernet franc 2022. This is the first production of Cabernet franc, only 1200 bottles produced. 

Lots of talk about the wet season, we expect the weather to start turning soon. We will be in the vineyards start pruning to create next years harvest. The vine is dormant at this stage, the moment the soils start heating up, pruning will start. Exciting to start a new cycle and seeing the vines budding and coming back to life after a good winter sleep.

Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2019 our wine focus for this post. Grapes are sourced from “De Liefde” farm in the Breedekloof region. Planted on the most interesting soils, not always the best but interesting. This wine is true reflection of the terroir these vines is planted. 

I will be on the road also for the next few months. Bizoe will be pouring wines at Johannesburg Country Club Winter Wine Festival on the 12th of August that we are looking forward to. September we will in Durban for a couple of events, and the end of September in Nelspruit for the Un-wined Wine Festival.

Yes, it was crazy, but it was fun, met so many new people, great laughs and this all around a glass of Bizoe Wines.

Sunshine in London

I just arrived back from London to work with our wine partners Davy Wine Merchants, to support them at their annual portfolio tasting. For a change it was cold in Cape Town and melting hot in London. It’s a great satisfaction to know it was not only the sun that shone, but also our wines.

This past tasting was my 4th portfolio tasting with Davys. Catching up with familiar people that I have met over the years and meeting new people in the London Wine Trade can only be a fun day out. Beside the portfolio tasting, it was very busy week.

Alex Griem from Chilled and Tannin drove me out to Taunton where I presented a wine tasting evening at Deckhouse Restaurant. Returning from Taunton. A definite highlight in London was presenting our wines to the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall and drinking a Tyrrells VAT 1 Semillon at 67 Pall Mall.

67 Pall Mall is the ultimate wine bar and any wine lovers dream. Drinking 2009 Tyrrells VAT 1 Semillon is one of the ultimate wines for me. It’s close to a dream come true. The only wine event better in minds was drinking the Tyrrells VAT1 with Bruce Tyrell on my trip to the Hunter Valley in 2017.

What else is there to do on a Friday evening in London, except organizing a braai in the Courtyard of Davy Wine Merchants. Sipped away on Bizoe Wines, steak strips and “boerewors” although made in UK, but still very tasty.  

What a way to cap of my week in London before flying back to Cape Town to come and face the cold. We will have some exciting posts in the coming weeks.

Fire and Wine           

This week the wine industry decent down to Graaff-Reinet for the weekend for the annual Stoeptasting. Stoeptasting is organised by The Karoo Wine Club

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Turning seasons       

Just a few weeks ago when looking over the vineyards you saw this beautiful colour blankets over vineyards. With all the leaves falling to ground give you this sad feeling of winter is here

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