Glenelly - a 'must visit' estate in the winelands

By Admin | 5 December 2016

May de Lencquesaing started a new adventure on South African Soil in 2003 at the age of 78: Glenelly Estate was reborn. Today, 13 years later, alongside her two grandsons Nicolas Bureau and Arthur de Lencquesaing, the 8th generation of vintners and wine producers, they are reshaping what was already a great success. With her unique experience and vision, with the support of the winemaker Luke O’Cuinneagain and viticulturalist Heinrich Louw, Glenelly is moving forward.

After closing to the public for extensive renovations over the past year, the Stellenbosch estate has re-opened as a world-class winelands destination including a hospitable bistro, a tasting room with spectacular views and a perfect new home for Madame’s private glass collection.

 

A TASTING ROOM WITH A VIEW

The new tasting room, on the top floor of the modern winery, overlooks the gentle lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain. Fuelled by natural light, the contemporary bar made using granite from the estate, invites the guests to sit and taste. A series of tasting experiences and food pairings enable both neophytes and connoisseurs to enjoy and discover the award-winning wines. Visitors will be able to taste the Glass Collection range, back vintages of  Estate Reserve and Lady May, but also uniquely get the chance to  compare them with mature wines from Chateau Pichon Lalande, iconic Bordeaux estate previously owned by the family.

In the same room, the winemaker’s private tasting area is only separated by a large cabinet de curiosité featuring intriguing elements related to wine, the family and the estate. With a bit of luck, you might spot him and be invited to continue your tasting journey with him!

The elegant design, exquisite use of light and uninterrupted views provide the ideal setting to appreciate the fine wines of Glenelly.

 

THE VINE BISTRO AT GLENELLY

According to May, “wines are made to pair with food, so introducing a culinary experience at Glenelly was the logical next step on our journey. My grandchildren initiated this project a few months ago with Christophe Dehosse, the ideal chef to look after this exciting new venture: French, but very established in South Africa, mastering haute cuisine but cooking simple dishes, getting his inspiration from traditional bistros of his homeland while experimenting African and Mediterranean ingredients. He sources local organic farm products and serves very seasonal food.

With the aim of complementing the wines, you’ll be able to taste by the glass back vintages of Glenelly as well as some outstanding Bordeaux wines owned by the family.

Inside, the decor is warm and elegant and includes a harmonious mix of 19th century chairs, classic Parisian tables, a contemporary cellar, a fire place for the winter, leather banquettes and a traditional bar with brass. Outside, on the terrace or under the pergola, expect long wooden tables, water feature, plants and a petanque court for long lazy afternoons enjoying the picturesque views on the estate.

 

THE PRIVATE GLASS COLLECTION

The presentation of the extensive private collection of glass acquired by May de Lencquesaing has been totally redesigned. Situated in the underground of the winery, you’ll be taken on a journey through 2000 years of glassmaking, with the 160 pieces of the collection, each telling a story. The room has intentionnaly been painted in a charcoal grey for the beautifully illuminated glasses to take center stage. You will see roman pieces, XVIIth and XVIII century glasses, but also Salvador Dali and American and South African contemporary artists.

 

Tasting room and glass collection:   Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10h00 to 19h30 and Sunday until 16h00

                                                      Email: tasting@glenelly.co.za - tel: 021 809 6440

 

The Vine Bistro:                              Opening hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and Thursday to Saturday for dinner

                                                      Email: bistro@glenelly.co.za - tel: 021 809 6440

 

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From Jamie Goode

Jamie Goode

The interesting thing about wine is that you only get one chance a year to make it. So for the average winemaker, retiring at a normal age, you might get to make 40 or so vintages in your lifetime, unless of course you switch hemispheres in your winter and go to work somewhere else.   Wine is an expression of place; it's also an expression of a particular year. For the winegrower who also tends their own vines, there's a special significance to vintage time. From the time the vine buds, to the point where the flowering occurs, to the point where grapes begin developing, to the point of veraison when the skins soften and red grapes chance colour, to the point of deciding when to pick, the winegrower tracks the progress of vintage. That year is then something they try to capture in the wine, as the grapes enter the cellar. It's only after several months that they will really know the personality of the vintage they have just lived through, when the baby wines begin to show what they are about. Along the way, there are many things that can go wrong: frost, disease, pests, microbial disasters in the wine. It's a complicated business, but when it does well, it’s worth all the anxiety and toil.

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In Jo's glass

I was recently in South Africa for Cape Wine and managed to taste several vintages of the delicious Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia. I usually opt for a sweet wine at the end of a meal instead of a pudding and The Vin de Constance is a perfect way to end a meal. It's rich and opulent with stone fruits, vanilla and a hint of spice yet it is also fresh, balanced and has a long, moreish finish. Master of Wine, Tim Atkin, highly rated both the 2011 and 2012 in his most recent report on South Africa which is available to download for £15 on timatkin.com.  

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