Bizoe Estalet Syrah

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.

Childhood Memories

This is what I love about my Bizoe journey. It takes you to new places and places you haven’t been for years.

The past week I spend time in KwaZulu-Natal visiting Duncan Sutherland. Duncan owns a company Vine Vintage that does our sales and distribution in KwaZulu-Natal. Growing up I remember during the April holidays we always would go to the “sea” like the rest of Gauteng. Our “sea” was at Umdloti on the North Coast of Natal. It brought so much good memories back driving through Umdloti. I had to stop and take a picture to share on our family WhatsApp group. That just made me thank wine again for taking me across the country.

While in KwaZulu-Natal it wasn’t all about the past. We had a lovely time at Wineology in Salt Rock. Amazing little store with some interesting wines owned by Vanessa and Peter. Wineology is at the Sage Centre. Trip down the N3 towards Pietermaritzburg to pour wine at the Parkline Wine Festival. On our way stopped at Meander Fine Wines at the Piggly Wiggly Centre in Lions River. 

Back in the vineyards we started pruning the vines. That time of the year standing in the cold and cutting back vines to create a new vintage. Makes me think of John 15:5 “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me”.

Just mind boggling to think how great this process is of creating a wine. Pruning something now that somebody will be able to enjoy for the next 20, 30, 50 years. Just never know what a new vintage will bring to the table. What I do know is that it will end up on a table and be enjoyed by friends!

Next up is a trip to UK to visit our friends at Davy Wines UK for their Southern Hemisphere Wine Show in London.

The magic of “De Liefde”

“De Liefde” farm situated approx 10km from Wolseley in the Western Cape of South Africa. De Liefde is the source of our Shiraz grapes for the Bizoe Estalet Syrah since 2008.

How did we find this magical piece of vineyard? I was lucky enough to work at Mountain Ridge Wines after completing my degree at The University of Stellenbosch in Oenology and Viticulture. Mountain Ridge Wines what is called a Co-op in South Africa is one of those hidden gems that has been the stomping ground for some of South Africa leading winemakers. Winemakers in like Eben Sadie from Sadie Family Wines and Bartho Eksteen from Bartho Eksteen Wines has worked under legend winemaker Olla Olivier at Mountain Ridge or as it was called Romansrivier back in the day.

Getting my first Assistant Winemaker position under Francois Agenbag in 2007, I have met Org Viljoen (Alberts late dad) then owner of De Liefde. There was always something different on the days Org grapes was harvested. The whole of the cellar got to a standstill and waiting on Org to arrive with his grapes. Special tanks were kept open for Org. Typically in a Co-op grapes from different farms gets harvested together but not Org’s grapes. It wasn’t because of Org but rather on the quality of the grapes that was grown on De Liefde. It was and is just different.

Remembering the day “Oom Org” told me the story when he planted the Shiraz grapes we use today still. He approached as he called the “wise men” in the industry for advice what to plant on De Liefde. Presenting them with soil samples they advised him to rather start a brick factory. The soil consist of a high density of clay and not conducive for the growing of grapes. Today I am fortunate enough to be buying grapes from Org and Albert since 2008. The vineyard just year after year producing amazing grapes.

De Liefde grapes is also each year the last grapes to arrive in the cellar. There can’t be better people owing that property. The passion Albert has inherited from his dad and love for De Liefde is magical. Thanks to Albert for the love and care he puts into his grapes. We are looking forward to write about the Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2022 in a few years’ time and look back at this post and say we know back then it will be a magical wine!

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