Now in the hands of May de Lencquesaing, who previously owned Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, a Grand Cru Classé in Pauillac, Bordeaux, Glenelly Estate in Ida’s Valley is a gem of a Stellenbosch destination. What sets it apart is not only the panoramic view from its tasting room and The Vine Bistro – a view that stretches from Simon’s Town round to the Simonsberg – but what it offers guests: award-winning wines, traditional bistro fare at exceptional prices and the opportunity to experience both in the heart of a vineyard setting.
There’s nowhere better to soak up nature while enjoying an alfresco meal between the vineyards in a glorious Cape fynbos country garden. For cooler weather, there’s always the chic dining room that looks out over this wonderland. Generous meals in this beautiful setting ensure Glenelly Estate’s wines, made as naturally as possible, are showcased at their very best. Made with wild yeast fermentation and no acidification, they perfectly complement chef patron Christophe Dehosse’s farm-to-table approach to food.
With its outstanding view and accessible prices, The Vine Bistro ticks the boxes for both visual feast and excellent fare. The convivial service is also a winner; there’s nothing stiff or overly formal about the staff, who welcome guests into a wonderfully relaxed and hospitable environment and serve generous traditional bistro dishes. So let’s talk about the food. This spring, expect plenty of fresh seasonal favourites like asparagus and artichokes, says Christophe, explaining that the restaurant sources vegetables from a non-commercial farmer who practises responsible farming close to the Glenelly Estate. In fact, where possible, all ingredients are locally sourced and some, like herbs and salad leaves, are grown on site.
Art of wine
With the recent launch of its first sulphur-free wine, Rosé de May, Glenelly is more determined than ever about its winemaking philosophy.
“We want our wines to express their sense of place and site as naturally as possible,” explains winemaker Luke O’Cuinneagain. “We are driving the estate towards organic with minimal interference and this will be reflected in a holistic and natural expression coming through in our wines.”
While the estate’s journey is very much about tapping into nature, he adds, the wines Glenelly produces always conform to three principles and they can be seen on the estate’s logo. “Power is represented by the rhino and elegance by the woman riding side-saddle,” says Luke. Lastly, balance is characterised by the glass poised on the rider’s hand.
As the vineyards mature, the wines are achieving more complexity, notes Luke. “Glenelly is starting to be awarded and seen as a true contender alongside its peers,” he says, acknowledging the accolades commending the wines he and his team are making. Five stars in Platter’s Wine Guide and enthusiastic reviews in Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator magazines in the USA and Tim Atkin’s reports in Europe suggest the estate is well and truly creating wines of distinction.