Class in Glass at Glenelly
Experience 4.0 Stellenbosch Wine 4.0

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Thursday 20 April 2017

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

I wrote the word ‘elegant’ in my tasting notes before I picked up the mini wine menu in the Glenelly tasting room. The estate logo of the lady riding a rhino puzzled until I saw the words “Power-Elegance-Balance”. All made sense now. The drive past the classic pale gates and though the tidy trimmed vines, in deep vibrant autumn colours, was beautiful. The curving road led up to an angular modern building jutting out of the hillside. Glenelly was bold and impressive.

I found the Tasting Room on the top floor and introduced myself to Tanya and John. It was John’s first day so he was shadowing Tanya. I was pleased to taste again. Four wines were offered for tasting and I opted, as preferred, to taste ‘blind’. Unusually, the tasting was free. I asked to be shown 2 whites and 2 reds. The Tasting Room is expansive, well decorated and with stunning views. There were tables set out for a tour group, yet to arrive, and I relaxed on a comfortable sofa beside an open bookcase with wine books and bottles on display.

Glenelly oozed style and attention to detail. Tonya and John were smartly dressed in red and white polo shirts, echoing the branded estate colours. I read in the mini booklet that the estate was reborn in 2003 – as so many in the Western Cape – by a 78-year old French woman called May de Lencquesaing. She owned one of the classic Bordeaux estates. Glenelly was a new adventure – even at her advanced age – and vines were planted on the hilly South-East facing slopes. The ancient soils of decomposed granites over clay enable the vine roots to grow deep. Sixty-five of the 123 hectare estate is under vine, a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot together with Chardonnay.

I opened with 2 Chardonnay, the first unoaked and the second aged in 500l French oak for 9 months. I like the pale and medium straw colours, their forward aromas, crisp dry acidity, and balance. The oaked Estate Reserve stood out for me with primary aromas of honeycomb, nougat and caramel layered over warm fruits of stewed apple and apricot. It was a delight.

I scored the 2 reds equally which was interesting as they were very different in price. The Glass Collection Syrah cost R95 compared with the Lady May (a largely Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux blend) that was priced at R420. It just goes to show the benefit of and my fascination with ‘blind’ tasting.

I asked to taste 2 more wines even though they were not part of my official tasting. It was well that I did as I enjoyed them both and bought a bottle of each. The Cabernet Franc was fruity and dark, broody with earthy and leathery aromas. I guessed a Bordeaux grape, not a Cabernet Sauvignon but perhaps a Petit Verdot. The earthiness followed though onto the palate with a balance between moderately grippy tannin and a rounded mouth feel. The final wine was the entry level Glass Collection Cabernet Sauvignon with its label neatly showing the aromas and notes. It too impressed with complex dark berry fruits and currants laced with mint and cigar.

After, I looked into the beautifully designed Vine Bistro before descending to the Glass Collection at the lower level. May de Lencquesaing has had a lifelong passion for rare and contemporary glass and has one of the largest privately-owned collections in the world. The lighting was subdued but each cabinet was shown off to perfection.

I would liked to have stayed longer but I wanted to visit Simonsig after. Glenelly was a real treat and an estate whose wines show obvious elegance, balance and fine detail. This showed through each element, from the vines to their terroir, to the architecture and the interior design, to the wines and the glass collection. I could sense a very French refinement and grandness, together with a balance between power and fine touch. The match between class and glass – and the wines served within – was elegance indeed.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2016 Glass Collection Unoaked Chardonnay – R95
2015 Estate Reserve Chardonnay – R210


2014 Glass Collection Syrah – R95
2011 Lady May (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot) – R420
2015 Glass Collection Cabernet Franc – R95*
2014 Glass Collection Cabernet Sauvignon – R95* FAVOURITE WINE

You Might Also Like

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

More than Just a Destination

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Classic(al) to Barrique – De Morgenzon Hits all the Right Notes

Late at Lateganskop

It’s High Time Again

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

No Black Marks at Raka

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Great Value in the Swartland

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Iconic Steenberg

Boutique de Brendel

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Beyond Expectation

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

Mutual Attraction

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Wines to Love on Love Street

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

The Vineyard Hotel a Classic Vehicle to Showcase L’Ormarins Wines

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Altitudes with Wine!

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

More Still at Tanagra

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Red Chair in the Morning

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town


Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch


  1. Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] was easy to find as I had passed the estate just a few days previously between tastings at Glenelly and Simonsig estates. I arrived with my prepaid ticket (R200), collected my ‘complimentary’ […]

  2. Vertically Challenged Amid the Big 5! – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] and often with sourness, is not everyone’s favourite and perhaps an acquired taste. The Glenelly Merlot was smoother than most and showed the typical notes of cedar and cigar box. I liked the […]

  3. Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble! – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] visited was a Cabernet Franc. I have also tasted and enjoyed at High Constantia Wine Cellar and at Glenelly Estate. I have even tasted a Cabernet Franc rosé, from Delaire Graff, but there were red wines only […]

  4. Mutual Attraction – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] Buitenverwachting, Cape Point Vineyards, Constantia Uitsig, Delheim, DeMorgenzon, Diemersdal, Glenelly, Ken Forrester, Morgenster, Oak Valley, Paul Cluver, Simonsig, and Steenberg – though did […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *