The Glenelly Estate, set in the Idas Valley, on the southern slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain, was bought in 2003 by May-Eliane de Lencquesaing. For those unfamiliar with the name, she has been the owner of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Bordeaux for the last 30 years and her family has been making wine in France for over 300 years.
This land was owned by a British family named Garlicks since 1865 and was originally fruit farm. There are a total of 128 hectares with 66 hectares of vines and 5 hectares with olives. As the hills curve around the winery, it makes for a rather breathtaking view, even in foul weather. The winery itself is very, very modern and impressive, but interspersed with all this modernity are old French antiques that May-Eliane has gradually brought down from France. It’s a cool look overall that harks a great deal to the final scenes in the movie, 2001.
The first vines were planted in 2004 with their first partial harvest in 2007 followed by a full harvest in 2008. From 2009, they produced fully Estate wines growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay. 2010 marked the first year of a white release. May-Eliane is an adamant believer in the climate as well as the potential of the wines and wanted to try and do something new and very different from the traditional French method.
The Merlot 2009 has a nose that is basically non-existent. The body is extremely young and needs considerable time to mellow. The finish is sharp and rather high in acidity. At the moment of tasting, it was hard to get over those initial elements to really discern other flavors within. R 75
The Shiraz 2009 is a lot more defined wine. The nose takes on more tobacco elements, but still has a ways to go. The body has more of a perfume on it that is quite pleasant, but again, it needs more time to grow and age. The wine still tastes young and has trouble clearing out. R 75
The Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 has a more delicate nose with underlying plum tones to it that are quite nice. The body definitely takes on a stronger tobacco and black cherry quality. According to the production managers, this has taken the best to the locale and it definitely shows as out of the Glass Range, it is the strongest and best flavored of the wines. The finish is dry, but still a great deal cleaner and the best of the lot. R 75
Grand Vin de Glenelly
The 2006 of this line is a blend of 35% Shiraz, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 32% Merlot. It spends 12-16 months in French oak. The nose is quite well-defined especially when compared to the Glass Range of wines. Despite this, is rather light and free and any one defining element, although it leans towards cloves. The body leans towards plum and blueberry, but it also quite dry, which leads to a somewhat difficult finish in the end. R 135
The 2007 of this line is a blend of 44% Shiraz, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. the nose has a hint of apricot as well as a good deal more tobacco and quite a bit of earthiness to it. The nose a great deal more pleasurable than the 2006, but the body is up for debate. The 2007 is setting itself up better to age well, although it still needs to mellow out a great deal. The finish is still rather sharp and not 100% desirable at this point. R 135
We talk a great deal more about the wines of Stellenbosch and other Cape Town wineries in our Stellenbosch wine guide.