Glenelly Cellars

Glenelly Wine Estate Stellenbosch

Mon - Fri | 10:00 - 16:30
Sat & Public Holidays | 10:00 - 16:00
 
+27 (0)21 809 6440
Lelie Street | Idas Valley | Stellenbosch
www.glenellyestate.com
luke@glenelly.co.za
Glenelly

Glenelly Wine Estate Stellenbosch

Fine wine, fine art, and a leading lady with big vision and a brave heart

Madame should know better. She understands time, and the passing of it; she knows wine and the making of it. What, then, is this French dame doing harnessing the wild waters of South Africa and getting her hands dirty with Stellenbosch terroir at 89? She's certainly not acting her age.

May de Lencquesaing is conquering a new continent on her way to 90, blending grapes and glass, mixing art, wine, romance and reality in complete defiance of age-appropriate conduct. She's even immortalised the process with a logo of a maiden riding a rhino.

Glenelly Estate in a word

That's Glenelly Estate for you. Classic. The winery holds fast to a lofty, timeless sense of elegance and reverence, and by walking in the wine farm’s foothills, it’s easy to get a handle on the property’s venerable state of being.  

From the stately gates up the slopes past the beautifully restored manor house to a Frank Lloyd Wright-style working space, Glenelly Estate cuts a fine profile of a young wine farm cultured with wisdom.

True to Madame’s French heritage, everything about the operation is based on refined taste. Some South African vino is still considered heavy and bold. In contrast, Glenelly Estate wines have French finesse. May gained many years of winemaking experience in Bordeaux, France, and she’s teamed up with local experts committed to bottling modernity.

Luke O’Cuinneagain, the winemaker at Glenelly Estate, mentions a very specific focus to make "fresh and elegant wines. Unlike most, we don’t just whack them in wood, and let the wood lead the wine," he smiles.

We're in the main tasting room overlooking the slumbering Stellenbosch Winelands, sipping and taking tasting notes. The Glass Collection Merlot 2009 tastes like a "black forest gâteau", while the Glass Collection Shiraz 2009 has "strains of violet, white pepper and cracked spice", which gives the wine an unusually smooth and fresh texture. The Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 has herbal tones, akin to the smell of fynbos on "Table Mountain first thing in the morning". Each of the wines has a very different texture and taste, and each cultivar is clearly defined.

The flagship wine and newest wine in the Glenelly range is Lady May, a fine Cabernet Sauvignon (aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels) that was awarded 4.5 stars in the 2013 Platter’s Wine Guide. The sculpture by French artist Maxim Real del Sarte of a 23-year-old May de Lencquesaing that you see on the linen-like label was a wedding gift. "This wine is proof that good wine keeps you young," May states on the back of the bottle.

Designing with nature

Knowing there's a better way to blend old and new is key at Glenelly Estate wine. Combining hands-on and state-of-the-art methods, the winemakers mix contemporary technology and timeless practices, sometimes importing techniques that O’Cuinneagain learned during his time abroad working at some of the best wineries in France. For example, ripe vine stems are used in the fermentation process to impart freshness to the Glass Collection Syrah: "Rather than spice, you get violet and jasmine coming through," explains Luke. “It’s poetry, pure and simple.”

Glenelly Estate lies in Ida’s Valley, en route from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek, on the beginning of the Helshoogte Pass. The vineyards are stitched into heritage site land, and the architecture of the main cellar building is distinctly cutting edge. The design allows a tiered workflow that uses gravity to reduce energy consumption – it’s a veritable waterfall of wine. The barrel cellar's unique feature is 15km of embedded pipework inside the concrete, running cold water to regulate core temperature, saving 70% on energy costs and usage. Water is recycled throughout the estate, and fynbos borders encourage natural balance between the birds and the bees (and the wasps and the ants) in the vineyards.

Nature has a sense of humour, which Viticulture Consultant Johan Pienaar and Production Manager Heinrich Louw share. They know that Merlot grapes like to have their feet wet and that vines on the east slopes handle summer better with a slow tan. There's an art to fine winemaking, after all.

Madame May’s art of taste

And, unsurprisingly, Madame's tastes go beyond fine wine into fine art. She once had the biggest glass collection in Europe, and now her eclectic, museum-status glassware collection is displayed throughout the winery and includes a piece 300 years older than Jesus (we’ve also heard that pieces from Salvador Dali are on the way). The cellar and tasting areas show canvas, antique furniture and sculpture cabinets. A vintage wine library as beautiful to behold as it is to appreciate will be used in the future to supply vino for rare vertical tastings (the same wine over a number of vintages), a sampling session that demonstrates a wine's development over time.

It's true. Madame is a jet-setting senior citizen, an author and an award winner, a wine estate owner and a whirlwind. No wonder she needs a rhino to bear her brilliance. After a dramatic childhood that included smuggling food to the persecuted during Nazi occupation, she took up winemaking in her fifties and now spends her time on different continents, proving her post-modern point: borders are in your mind (and good wine is around the corner).

Enjoying a wine tasting at this Stellenbosch estate costs just R15p/p (fee is waived if purchasing wine). Cellar and wine estate tours are possible, but a booking is required.

---

Keen to stay overnight in the Winelands? Check out our overview of accommodation in Stellenbosch.

---

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle and check out our Pinterest boards for updates. Plus, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for news on what's happening in and around Cape Town.

Cape Town Events Calendar
July 2016
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31

Clybourne Park at The FugardUpcoming Plays that You Don’t Want to ...

Cape Town has a sensational theatre culture and we invite you to sample the ...

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

21 July Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition 3The Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition ...

Artists from across the globe use their craft to pay tribute to this novelist ...

Groot Constantia Trail SeriesGroot Constantia Trail Series in Cape ...

Traverse the beautiful trails in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs at one of these ...

Fairview Goatshed Food and Wine Themed EveningsThe Goatshed Restaurant’s Themed Food ...

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

Cape Town Funny Festival LogoJive Cape Town Funny Festival at the ...

The comedy festival that has Capetonians keeled over, for four weeks, returns

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

Rick's Cafe Table PeopleRick’s Café Americain’s Weekly ...

Pop over to the charming Casablanca-themed restaurant for a hearty meal that ...

Horseback safari at AquilaHorseback Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Ditch the regular, old game drive and saddle up for an up-close experience with ...

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon 5Half-Price Men’s Haircut at Swordfern ...

Every Tuesday this trendy wellness studio trims 50% off its ‘Be a ...

Park Inn Newlands Happy Hour SpecialHappy Hour Special at the Park Inn ...

Pop in to this slick hotel for buy-one-get-one-free drinks any day of the week ...

Haute Cabriere Lamb DishTrue Marriage of Food and Wine at Haute ...

Enjoy a specially curated Pinot Noir-inspired pairing of exquisite vino and ...

Bob Marley cover bandLive Music Tuesday at Cafe Mojito

Kick off your week with a night of local jamming at Long Street’s beloved ...

Plant Tempting Tuesday 2Tempting Tuesday at Plant Restaurant

A deliciously healthy deal making ethical eating both easy and affordable in ...

ocean star 6Ocean Star Sailing Academy's Fishing ...

Every Tuesday, CapeTownMagazine.com readers can enjoy a four-hour fishing ...

Sewing Through Sisterhood - Suzani ExhibitionSewing Paradise: A Sisterhood Through ...

Glimpse paradise through these special styles of textiles

DARG Mandela DayMandela Month at DARG

Lend a paw this Mandela Day and show a furry friend some love

Bowhaus WashHausBowhaus Bath Brush and Doggy Daycare ...

This Mother City pet-sitting paradise brings you the alternative to leaving ...

Nederburg 1Nederburg Concert Series

Everyone needs the sound of classical music and the lovely taste of Nederburg ...

Winter World Class Burger Pairing at Café CapriceWinter World Class Burger Pairing at ...

Four bartenders battle it out for World Class domination with their brilliant ...

Cape Quarter ExteriorFREE Weekly Yoga Class at Cape Quarter

Enrich your physical, mental and spiritual state every Tuesday evening at this ...

Benguela Exterior NighttimeFine Dining at Benguela on Main in ...

Sample world-class wines and daringly deconstructed French classics in this ...

Signal Hill Terrace and Lounge InteriorTapas and Wine Special at Signal Hill ...

Wine, dine and relax every Tuesday at this stylish CBD haunt

Spur Winter Trail Run SeriesThe 2016 Spur Winter Trail Series®

Run wild and free this winter with this top-notch trail series

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

Venture into a world of abstraction with this eye-catching show

Beerhouse Restaurant and Bar in Cape TownPub Quiz Night at Beerhouse on Long ...

Test your general knowledge at this Long Street-based haunt’s Tuesday pub quiz

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

Excentric InteriorTransformation Tuesday at Excentric ...

First-time clients will receive a complimentary Olaplex in-salon treatment when ...

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady at Artscape

With a little bit of luck you’ll dance all night after seeing this loverly ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

mischu coffee showroom in sea point cape townFree Coffee Beans and Capsules at ...

Simply mention CapeTownMagazine.com while placing an order of coffee beans or ...

Boschendal Wine FarmPicnic Lunches at Boschendal Wine Farm

Delight in an alfresco feast at one of the most picturesque wineries in the ...

OmniBlend6Quick and Easy Broccoli and Peanut Soup ...

We teamed up with the folks at OmniBlend blenders HQ to bring you this tasty ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.