Glenelly Estate in Idas Valley, Stellenbosch was purchased in 2003 by Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, a member of one of Bordeaux’s oldest wine families, the Miailhe, who owned the famous Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, Bordeaux.
The Glenelly Estate’s origins date back to the 17th century when Simon van der Stel, Governor of the Cape at the time, granted the land to French Huguenot François Villion. In 1812, the estate passed to Johan Peter de Villiers, and finally in 1911 it became the property of British family, the Garlicks, who owned it for 92 years until its purchase by May de Lencquesaing.
After meticulous soil and weather studies of the 123-hectare farm, which was formerly devoted to fruit production, 60 hectares were planted to vine: (Cabernet Sauvignon 41.7%, Shiraz 19.2%, Merlot 13.3%, Petit Verdot 8.3%, Cabernet Franc 8.3% and Chardonnay 9.2%) and five hectares of olive trees. The Chardonnay vineyards were planted in 2005. The Glenelly vineyards are situated on the southern slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain. Soils are predominantly oakleaf, a form of decomposed granite with a deep layer of clay, which lends itself to making fresh, elegant and well-structured wines. Glenelly enjoys a high percentage of cooler, east-facing slopes. This is unusual for Stellenbosch and allows for slower, more even ripening. Four dams provide ample water supply. The flora and fauna really add to the beauty of this mountainside estate.
I love the latest vintages of its two different styles of Chardonnay: Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2013, an elegant yet opulent wooded Chardonnay made in a complex mineral style with lots of lemon zest for freshness; and Glenelly Glass Collection Chardonnay 2013, unoaked and lively and packaged with screwcap closure to preserve the fresh citrus notes. According to Glenelly winemaker, Luke O’Cuinneagain, “The 2013 harvest at Glenelly produced wines of distinction, with great balance and complex aromatics”.
The Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2013 has a wonderful bright crisp colour. The captivating nose displays vibrant lemon and lime zest, with gorgeous vanilla butterscotch notes and hints of apple, pear drop, lychee and rose, which overlay the minerality. The palate is lush with the creamy texture underpinned with beautiful mineral notes, refreshing crisp acidity, perky citrus notes and hints of toasted almond and vanilla. The finish is fresh, firm and long with distinctive minerality. This wine is a perfect match for a buttery piece of chicken, pan-fried fish, salmon and shellfish.
The grapes were whole-bunch pressed. After a brief settling, the juice was barrel fermented naturally in new and 2nd-fill 500 litre barrels for ten months, including nine months on the lees. No bâtonnage was done in order to retain as much freshness as possible.
The previous vintage of this highly-acclaimed Chardonnay was rated 92 points in USA wine critic Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, and 90 points in USA’s Wine Spectator.
The Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2013 retails nationally for approximately R140.
The Glenelly Glass Collection Chardonnay 2013 has a bright and brilliant colour with a slight green hue, with complex aromas of citrus, lime zest, marmalade and melon. On the palate there is a beautiful round comforting texture with wonderful length, intense fruit complexity and a mineral oyster-shell finish. This Chardonnay is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and makes for a perfect aperitif, an ideal lunch-time wine and a great match for grilled calamari, mezze platters, sushi, oysters, Caesar salad and summer pastas.
The grapes were lightly crushed, gently pressed, naturally fermented (wild fermentation) in two stainless steel tanks (one at 13° and the other at 18°) and left on the lees until bottling.
The Glenelly Glass Collection Chardonnay 2013 retails nationally for approximately R65.