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Glenelly Lady May


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Elegant and complex, Glenelly Lady May develops flavours of cassis, blackcurrant, dark cherry, a touch of graphite and delicate, spicy plum fruit. Fresh and vibrant, Lady May is the definitive introduction to Glenelly’s terroir. Deeply coloured and perfectly balanced, the wine displays an exquisite structure and velvety tannins, easily giving it the capability to evolve gracefully over the next 12-15 years.

  • Country: South Africa
  • Region: Coastal Region
  • Subregion: Stellenbosch
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Colour: Red
  • Grape Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot
  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Bottle Size: 75cl
  • Closure: Natural cork
  • Style: Better than Bordeaux?
  • Drink With: A fine, rare sirloin steak

From the highest echelons of the Bordeaux hierarchy, as former owner of Pauillac second growth Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse De Lalande, the indefatigable May-Eliane de Lencquesaing has brought a lifetime of wine knowledge and passion to Stellenbosch. With skilled winemaker Luke O'Cuinneagain at the helm, Glenelly Estate offers wines with Bordeaux-inspired structure and fine, New World richness.

Lady May is Glenelly’s flagship estate wine. The 2016 Bordeaux blend (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 6% Cabernet franc, 6% Petit Verdot) pays tribute to the pedigree of its legendary owner, May de Lencquesaing - balanced, refined and mineral. Etched with underlining fruit power, it is fresh, stylish and subtle with dense age worthy tannins and a long, tight finish.

"She will be giving her old Deuxième Cru a run for its money soon (and let’s not even think about comparing prices!)”
Neal Martin, (of Glenelly’s proprietor May-Eliane de Lencquesaing)


The grapes were lightly crushed into stainless steel tanks and fermentation started with indigenous yeast and a mixture of rack-and-returns and open pump-overs. Post-fermentation skin contact lasted 2 to 3 weeks before gentle pressing and transferring into new French oak barrels where malolactic fermentation took place. The wine stayed on its lees for a considerable period of time before racking (on average, every 4 months) and enjoyed a maturation of 24 months in new French oak barrels.

Awards Tim Atkin MW: 94 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!