Pretoria to Paris

Excitement is the word for one of the last trips of the year to Gauteng. Brasserie de Paris in Pretoria is doing a dinner focused on Semillon.

We all know where Semillon lies in my heart. The one passion that is difficult for me to hide. Before we get on about the dinner at Brasserie de Paris. I conducted a tasting at Mesh Club in Rosebank. Mesh Club shared office working space combined with an upmarket food and beverage section. Incredible space to meet new people and to share my wines.

Brasserie de Paris is the one evening I was looking forward to for a long time. Semillon was the name of the game for the evening. Our first course was trio of oysters paired with the Morningstar 2018 and 2019. Flavours paired with Lemongrass, Pickled Ginger and Lime. Interesting for me having conversations with the guest that there was no clear winner between the Morningstar 2018 and 2019. In my opinion the 2019 worked better with the Lemongrass and the 2018 with the Ginger and Lime. 

Robertsvleipad Semillon 2019 paired with ravioli, calamari and squid ink and citrus jus. Robertsvleipad tends to the citrus lemon lime character of fresh Semillon fruit. Paired perfect to enhance the flavours of the of wine and something for everyone to try when they dine at Brasserie de Paris.

Bizoe Henriëtta is always the star the evening, and it hasn’t disappointed on the evening. Just recently scored 94 Decanter points and it has shown us why again. Wine close to my heart and Bizoe maiden wine in 2008. Just shows why Henriëtta is the ‘ruler of the house’. Buttermilk chicken dish is most probably my pick of the evening.

What would a evening be without some red wine. Bizoe Idioglossia Malbec 2018 dished up with Warthog, mushroom and herbs pastry. As one of guest commented on the evening she didn’t know “Pumba” has so much taste. All I can say I tend to agree and the Malbec was complimenting the dish.

Bizoe Tiny Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2017 wine we make for evenings like this. Paired with a trio of Créme Brûlée.  My suggestion is to make a booking and go and try Brasserie de Paris for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. 

Thanks Senisia for a spectacular evening !

Cling Cling to Ching Ching

Sitting this morning starting to write an update on Bizoe Wines with a fresh exciting outlook of what’s to come. In the background I hear cling cling as the bottles of our new vintages Bizoe Estalet Syrah and Bizoe Henriëtta are moving through the labelling machine.

These two wines will always be the cornerstone of the Bizoe Range. Bizoe Henrietta is again a blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon blanc. 

Bizoe Henrietta 2019 assed by Samarie Smith of Married to Wine “The power of two makes Henrietta an ambassador for Bizoe – elegant, confidant and seamless. Packed with fruit and a notable intensity from Semillon, the wine etched with a bright and luminous quality brought to life by Sauvignon blanc.”

Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2018 has been in the barrel for 18 months before it was bottled on 20 January 2020. The wine is now ready to hit your pallets and to be enjoyed around the world. In the words of Samarie Smith – “ The wine entice your sense from the word go, alluring with complex layers unfolding as you go back for more. The wine grabs your attention and keeps it there with its vibrant perfume, prominent red and black fruit laced with a savoury olive brine and sweet leather character.”

Releasing new vintages is always a nerve racking time and a very rewarding time for a winemaker. My philosophy at Bizoe is to make wines that I, Rikus Neethling enjoy. I feel proud to release the Bizoe Henrietta 2019 and Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2018 in to the world of wine. 

I am sure there will be more ching ching in the future after you have tasted the new wines!

Rugby and Red Wines

Thank you to the British and Irish Lions for their tour to South Africa and giving us a reason to smile again. Nothing as “lekker” than seeing a Springbok side winning.

As we talk about rugby now it’s the Argentinians waiting. Looking forward to the next Springbok adventure, already seeing me Saturday in front of the tele with a Bizoe Idioglossia Malbec in the hand. Malbec grapes that originate from the Cahors in France. The ancient Romans called the wine made from Malbec “the black wines from Cahors”.

Now undoubtedly it’s the Argentinians that is making name with this beautiful cultivar. Rikus passion for Malbec comes from a trip to Argentina in 2004 while studying viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch. Drinking Malbec with the folks off Argentina while enjoying a “bife de lomo” – sirloin steak.

Malbec in South Africa was first planted in South Africa in the 1920’s. In South Africa it’s currently gaining popularity with the wine drinker. It could be that we had to the opportunity to travel around the world and drink Argentinian Malbec and that its fits in with our lifestyle — braai and wine.

 The “Pumas” well known for their scrum ability and mauling, we know the Springboks can match them in the grind. The same with a good Malbec, it is a well-rounded wine with flavors of spices, blackberries and dark chocolate. The same intense that the rugby will bring on the field, Malbec gives in the glass and wine is always the winner.

 As the Springboks start the Rugby Championship this weekend against Argentina we will sure be in front of the fire and television with a glass of Malbec in the hands to cheer on our boys in green and gold.

The wheels are turning again

Yes we got some good news, we are back and is allowed to trade again in South Africa. Doing what we love the most, sharing our wines with you! Now it’s back to the drawing board. Planning the calendar to see what tastings we can fit in what we have lost over the past month.

Although we couldn’t trade, life went on in the cellar and in vineyards. Entering the winter the vineyards is looking bare. Pruning for me is always an exciting time, cutting away with the old making space for the new crop to develop.

Seeing the vineyards bud in a few month bring optimism and hope. Those first shoots and baby leaves brings and excitement that only a vineyard grower can understand. New crop starting to develop, motoring and guiding the new born to maturity to age in a bottle to provide satisfaction for years to come.

As the vineyard brings optimism and hope, we can thank our loyal supporters in South Africa and importers around the world. We have added to our counties in the last few month The Netherlands. Our wines is exclusive available from Boonstoppel Wijnen in Dordrecht.

The world is slowly returning to what we have been used to. United Kingdom opening up again brings great pleasure and we can only thank them for their loyal support of our wines. Davy’s Wine Merchant is our partners in the UK.

As you can see in this note we are excited to be back and returning to trade in South Africa. There is no bigger pleasure sharing our wines with you and getting feedback about our wines. Can’t wait to see you all again.

Bright side of Life

With all the things happening in South Africa at the moment, I need to find the positive things around me at the moment.

 The 7th of July London based Decanter Magazine released their ratings for 2021. Bizoe Genant SGM 2019 the first time got awarded 91 points. What a great result for us, we always knew it’s a great wine just had to get it rubber stamped by the International wine community.

Bizoe Henrietta, was that was bottled the first time in 2008, always had through the year amazing ratings. Bizoe Henrietta 2010 named in the Top 100 wines of the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2012, we didn’t believed it could be topped. Decanter just come out with a stunning 94 pointer for our Bizoe Henrietta 2018.

Past 14 days started our braai challenge again. Part of the challenge for me is to stop complaining about the pandemic and difficult liquor prohibition we have to endure. It makes me realise how fortunate I am to live my passion out. Enjoying my wines that I have crafted. There is one thing that I miss in this equation is sharing with you.

Although in South Africa the gates are closed at the moment we would like to thank our loyal international importers that keeps on supporting us. Later this week we will ship some wine to Germany to our friends Curry Wein.

 Stay safe stay positive and keep on seeing the beautiful side of life!

Fire and Wine

As winter sets into the Western Cape, cold and rain arrives. Fireplace burning, Wimbledon on the television and a glass of red in the hand.  Welcome to the winter in the Cape.

 As romantic as the intro sounds there is still work in the cellar to be done during this time. We are preparing to bottle some new wines soon, one of the wines will be the Bizoe Idioglossia Malbec 2019. Process of preparing a wine for bottling doesn’t happen overnight. We are looking forward making the new Malbec available later in the year.

 Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2019 will also be bottled at the same time. With the Estalet Syrah our next release will be the 2018, this giving the 2019 sufficient time in the bottle before we release it to the market.

And then the announcement come that we are prohibited to sell wine again. As sad as it is that we can’t supply you with wine at the moment we are in the fortunate position to export our wines. We can be thankful to our International partners in times like these.

 I was hoping that you all can enjoy the next few weeks in front of the heater or fireplace, glass in hand and watching Wimbledon. Those who’s cellar are full and have access to wine please enjoy your glass in the comfort of your house and lift it up to our doctors fighting the battle on our behalf. Stay safe and stay positive.

Thanks you “Pappa”

January 2001 is clearly still on my mind when my parents driven me down to Stellenbosch to start my first year at The University of Stellenbosch. As we left about 10min into the drive getting onto the Bloemfontein Highway at Gillooly’s interchange my dad’s words “my seun die is jou laaste dag as ‘n Gautenger”. There is so much to thank him for what he has taught me in life and done for me.

 This past week I was roaming the streets of Gauteng promoting our wines. Everybody will mention their star struck moment in life. I had on of mine last week presenting a food and wine evening with Marthinus Ferreira of Restaurant DW11-13. Back in 2011 a friend Francis Krone then sommelier at Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg send me to show the Bizoe Tiny Noble Late Harvest 2010 to Marthinus, it was a start of great relationship with DW11-13. Our wines has ever since that day featured on the wine list of this great restaurant, especially our Bizoe Tiny Noble Late Harvest named after my dad. DW11-13 is in my mind one of the best Jozi has to offer.

 Moving from Johannesburg to over the “Jukskei” to Pretoria where we had an evening with my Charl Coetzee of IntoWine. Having my parents attending the evening at IntoWine made it more special for me. Presenting my wines in their presence, is just special for me and thanking them for the opportunity they gave me to live my dream.

 Presenting my wines to the people of Gauteng will always be special for me!

Nieu-Bethesda to Graaff-Reinet

Once a year the whole industry heads down the N1 towards Graaff-Reinet for the yearly Stoeptasting. Off we set to join the fun in the Karoo.

Graaff-Reinet has a special place in my heart. My wife, Estalét’s family is farming 50 km outside of Graaff-Reinet in district of Nieu-Bethesda on the farm Damesfontein. We were extremely excited when the organisers of the event extended the “stoeptasting” to Nieu-Bethesda.

 Nieu-Bethesda hosted 20 wine estate during the Stoeptasting in 2021. This made us jump to the opportunity to host a Bizoe Wine Dinner at the sports club in town. Bethesda as known to the locals is where I and Estalét got married in 2007. Remember the day as a bitterly cold day, but a joyful occasion filled the air.

 The tennis club is a venue where all the locals farmers and Bethesda residents meet up on a Saturday afternoon. To host a wine event at the tennis club had just so much more of meaning for me. The same venue where I have made new friends through Estalét more than 20 years ago. What a privilege to pour my wines to the community of Nieu-Bethesda. 

Stoeptasting is a bucket list event for a wine lover. Guest houses is booked out well in advance. Ex Graaff-Reinet residents return to walk the streets and taste some wines. Reunion of friends, the making of new friend is all happening during the weekend. The town is a buzz. Make sure to make your booking for 2022, promise Bizoe Wines will be there again.

Let’s hit the road Jack (Part 2)

Adventure down the Garden Route!

Following up from my last post about my time in Gauteng, next stop Garden Route with Jo and Nick Lowe from The Grape Hustle in Plettenberg Bay.

Early morning departure from Somerset West to meet up with Jo at The Garden Route Game Lodge.  Beautiful view over the valley with the game roaming in front of you out of the restaurant.

Our first tasting in Plettenberg Bay was at boutique Tten Bazaar, yes interesting store and a fun environment to do tastings. On the evening we paired different types of Olives with the wine. First time I was involved in such a pairing and made for interesting taste. Will I engage in such tasting again? Definitely I will do.

 Our next event we did a Semillon masterclass followed by dinner at Barringtons. Barringtons is for the must stop places in Plettenberg Bay. Great food, great services and most of all great people. If wine isn’t your thing, I am sure you will find the right beer at Barringtons to drink.

Nina’s Cafe in George owned by my friend Wernhard van der Watt (Wern) and his wife Natasha. Wern and my paths crossed the first time in 2009. One promise I made myself is never to drive through George again and not having a meal at Nina’s Cafe. Tasting we did on the evening was astonishing and one of the best pairing with Bizoe Wines I had in a very long time. Wern evening treated us late night with “The Wern Show” in the kitchen showing us how to “sous vide” a steak.

 One final event in Knysna held at Kanonkop Guest House with Mark & Adele Conyers. If Mark is involved in an event you know it’s going to be fun. Entertainment & Food organised by Mark and Adele and we supplied wines for the evening. Definitely we ended our trip in the Garden Route on high note! Thanks Mark and Adele for opening Kanonkop House for us that we can share our wines with the people of Knysna.

Bizoe Genant

On Monday 29th of March we completed harvest 2021 with our Bizoe Idioglossia Chardonnay grapes arriving from Elgin approx. 2 weeks after we completed Stellenbosch grapes. This just shows again the role nature and region play in the world of wine.

The day has arrived that I have trying to keep quiet for the past 4 months, the release of our maiden vintage Bizoe Genant. Rikus and Estalét youngest son Rikus Jnr is the only member in the household that was short of wine named after him. Those days are gone, as the Genant was made in honour of Rikus Jnr.

The meaning of Genant in Afrikaans is “having the same name as somebody else.” Would be used in context “dit is my genant”

More about the wine, Shiraz and Mourvèdre grapes are sourced from old bush vines planted in Darling wine region. Grenache is coming from a warmer climate of Wellington. Although warm climate the vineyards is tucked away in the corner of the Bains Kloof and Groenberg Mountain Range.

In the cellar grapes were processed separately in open fermenting tank. Before fermentation started we used a process of cold maceration to extract delicate flavors out of the skin of the grapes followed by natural fermentation. The wines were tucked away in 500L barrels for approx. 18 months before bottled on 11 December 2020. It was difficult to keep this secret of a new wine that I have been working on for over the last 2 years.

Ending of for me as a father of Rikus Jnr, there is nothing giving me more joy to see how this little boy develop in life and how this bottle of Bizoe Genant 2019 will develop and already looking forward to his 18th birthday to enjoy a glass of Genant with my Genant.

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