Glenelly Estate Reserve Rouge
The Glenelly Estate Reserve Rouge has a dark, deep and rich ruby colour. There are aromas of blackcurrant and spicy plum fruit, with notes of toast, tobacco and cedar in the background of the complex yet elegant nose. The palate has a great intensity and concentration, fantastic freshness and fine, elegant, but well structured tannins, with oak that is balanced and nicely integrated.
- Country: South Africa
- Region: Coastal Region
- Subregion: Stellenbosch
- Vintage: 2015
- Colour: Red
- Grape Variety: 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc
- ABV: 14.5%
- Bottle Size: 75cl
- Closure: Natural cork
- Style: Bordeaux, sort of
- Drink With: A Sunday piece of roast beef with all of the trimmings
The 2015 harvest started two weeks later than normal. A prolonged winter into September followed by a cool spring meant a delay in bud burst by 14 days. However, cold and wet conditions helped with an even bud burst and meant the vines had enough water for the warm conditions later in the season. A warm November and moist soils lead to dense canopies which meant greater management was needed. Due to a warm dry December later cultivars ripened earlier and the earlier cultivars later, which lead to pressure in the cellar.
The grapes were hand sorted and lightly crushed into stainless steel fermentation tanks. They were given a cold soak for three days before natural fermentation was allowed to start. Three pump overs a day were done on the tanks during fermentation, after which they underwent extended skin contact for 2-3 weeks. The wine was placed in French oak barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation. Matured for 18 months in French oak and racked on average every four months.
Tim Atkin MW: 93 pts
Vinous: 91 pts
Wine Advocate: 90 pts
About the grower
On the southern slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain, in the Ida's Valley of Stellenbosch, lies the Glenelly Estate. In 1682, Cape Governor Simon Van Der Stel ceded the land on which the Glenelly Estate now stands to a French Huguenot, François Villion. In 1812, the estate passed to Johan Peter de Villiers, and finally in 1911 it became the property of a British family, the Garlicks. They owned it for 92 years until, in 2003, Glenelly was bought by May-Eliane de Lencquesaing. For over 30 years, Madame de Lencquesaing had been the owner of the classed growth Bordeaux Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Pauillac. Her belief in the quality of the Cape’s terroir, her wish to play a role in the economic development of the newly democratic country and her desire to continue the three century heritage of French winemaking in South Africa all played a part in her decision to embark upon a new adventure.
The 123 hectare Glenelly Estate was formerly devoted to fruit production, but after an intensive study of the soil structure and weather patterns by Madame de Lencquesaing, 54.5 hectares were planted with red grape varieties and 5.5 hectares were given to white varieties. A small remainder was planted with olive trees and the rest remained as forest. There are 5 main red grape varieties grown at Glenelly: Cabernet Sauvignon for its structure; Syrah for the fineness of red fruit aromas and flavours; Petit Verdot to bring complex notes of liquorice and violets to a blend; Merlot giving freshness and fruity notes; and finally Cabernet Franc to pair with the Merlot, giving an almost Pomerol-style character to certain wines.
A new, gravity fed winery was completed in 2009, and everything is done in as natural and as environmentally friendly a manner as possible - even the concrete used for its construction was coloured in ochre tones to match the surrounding soils!