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
2月 2017
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

Villains Ale House Logo 2DJ nights at Villain’s Ale House

Kick start your weekend with DJ nights every Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Glowing Rooms 3Glowing Rooms SA offers a special ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed ...

Villains Ale House Logo 2Meet the Beer at Villain’s Ale House

Meet the various curators of craft beer at Villain’s Ale every Wednesday!

Waves For WaterSpecial Screening of Waves For Water

Sunshine Cinema presents a free screening of a compelling documentary!

The Cape Town Art FairThe Cape Town Art Fair

This fair sets Africa firmly on the map as a strong influencer in the global ...

Superhero for a day - 2Be a Superhero for a Super Cause at ...

Don your best superhero threads and get running!

To Love or Not - 1To Love or Not to Love: A Street View

Delve into the reality of ‘street couples’

Public Art Fest - 4International Public Art Festival

For a little international artistic inspiration

Plus 1 Fest - 3Plus 1 Festival in Franschhoek

Take your plus one to this ultimate music experience!

Goldfish2Goldfish at Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset ...

Get a load of these fishies!

Cape Town Sixes Cricket FestivalCape Town Sixes Cricket Festival

Enter your team into the most exciting amateur cricket festival to hit the ...

Maynardville - 4Romeo and Juliet Ballet at Maynardville ...

In fair Maynardville…

Spur Winter Trail Run SeriesThe 2017 Spur Summer Trail Series®

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

Slave descendantsMy Naam is Februarie - Identities ...

View a historically significant calendar and listen to audiobooks in ...

MonarkLive Summer Concerts at Vergenoegd Wine ...

Rock on dude!

MaynardvilleShakespeare in the Park at Maynardville ...

See Shakespeare’s well-known tale of passion, love and confusion, Twelfth ...

I Love Big Bay Spring MarketI Love Big Bay Market

Put a spring in your step at this fabulous evening market

Find your spot#FindYourSpot with Place in the Sun ...

Col'Cacchio invites you all to come and try their custom designed pizzas and ...

grand-africa-cafe-and-beach-image-9Sundowner Sessions at Grand Africa ...

See out the weekend with a chill session at this iconic seaside destination in ...

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape ...

Grab some snacks and get ready to watch your favourite films beneath the stars ...

Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset ConcertsKirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts

Prepare yourself for a scintillating smorgasbord of Sunday sunset live music ...

Kloof Street HouseSunday Lunch & Free Live Jazz at Kloof ...

While away the last few hours of the weekend with some smooth tunes and good ...

Cape Classic Chamber Music FestivalCape Classic Chamber Music Festival

Soak up 10 days of classical melodies in some of the Cape’s loveliest venues

Camissa Tour 5 2015Sunday Gospel Experience with Camissa

Embark on a spiritual Sunday journey through one of the Mother City’s most ...

Springbok at Thali Thali Game Lodge West CoastSunday Lunch Buffet at Thali Thali Game ...

Cap off the weekend with a hearty, affordable spread at this family-friendly ...

Summertide Art Exhibition 2016Summertide Art Exhibition

Add a pop of culture into your summer with this exquisite exhibition

Piano Bar 2016 food and cocktails 5Bubbly Special at The Piano Bar

Make this charming musical revue haunt home on Sunday afternoons for R35 ...

cape town comedy club logoHalf-Price Sundays at Cape Town Comedy ...

Laugh 50% off top-notch entertainment every last day of the week at this ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

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