Glenelly Estate Reserve 2016
Black Currant, Blackberry Preserve, Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Wafer
The South African region of Stellenbosch is the most famous of the country’s numerous wine-producing areas, often described as the most similar to Napa Valley in terms of prestige. It is located between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and enjoys a climate similar to that of the Mediterranean, making it the ideal location for many French grape varietals. Originally planted to grapes such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot, which thrived in its granitic soils, the region has boasted a distinct French influence since its founding. This is also due to large numbers of French Huguenots settling in the area at a time when religious persecution was on the rise in Europe. Many wine-growing estates in Stellenbosch can trace their origins back to the 18th century or earlier, with the Glenelly estate among their number. While the region has seen its share of conflict and economic depression, grapes have been grown on this property since 1682.
However the history of Glenelly as a modern winery is quite recent. The current owner of the property, May de Lencquesaing, purchased the estate in 2003 with the intent to produce quality Bordeaux-style blends. This is particularly interesting because, at the time, de Lencquesaing was also the owner of Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, a Grand Cru estate in Bordeaux. She purchased Glenelly after falling in love with the rich history and climate of South Africa, re-planting the French varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon that had once grown there. Since then, she has sold her share of Pichon-Longueville and, although still playing an active role in Bordeaux, has focused more of her energy on South Africa.
To make this wine, Bordeaux varietals are sourced from the estate’s east-facing slopes. This sun-facing aspect allows for a longer, cooler ripening season and prevents over-ripeness. Additionally, a small amount of Syrah is blended in for ripeness and complexity. The final blend is 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Syrah, 18% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. After harvesting by hand, the grapes are brought to the winery for hand-sorting. After a three-day cold soak, fermentation takes place using native yeasts. The wine is then placed into French oak barriques for 18 months, during which it undergoes full malolactic conversion.