Glenelly in Stellenbosch is certainly an estate that is starting to really hit its straps after years of producing wines that were always impressive but which you knew had the potential to reach ever greater heights of quality. This all became apparent with the release of the 2015 vintage of the Lady May Bordeaux blend which garnered high praise globally as well as an impressive 96+/100 point score on the Fine Wine Safari.
Only mid last year, Glenelly announced the appointment of ex-Saxenburg Estate Dirk van Zyl as their new head winemaker, succeeding the talented Luke O’Cuinneagain who moved to Vergelegen earlier in the year to replace the retiring Andre Van Rensberg. While Dirk obviously did not make the 2017 wine, he has the good fortune to prevail over the launch proceedings of this masterpiece and I hooked up with him in Johannesburg recently for the Lady May 2017 industry launch tasting at Marble Restaurant. (Recommended retail price is £42.99 per bottle for the UK market.)
Glenelly Estate Lady May 2017, WO Stellenbosch, 14.5 Abv.
90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot
If the 2015 Lady May resembled a powerful, dense, Pauillac-styled Cabernet Sauvignon led red blend, and the 2016 a broader, softer expression from a warm dry vintage, then the 2017 is pretty much the antithesis, boasting the most elegant, silky, seamlessly harmonious texture combined with an attractively fragrant, Margaux-esque delicacy, an understated density and graceful precision. While super youthful, the wine inevitably displays some of the lush, alluring and reassuringly expensive new oak creaminess, boasting layers of warm buttered brown toast smothered in black currant preserve, fresh espresso, hints of mocha dust and delicate vanilla pod spice notes. But probably the most pleasing element about this wine is the way ex-winemaker Luke O’Cuinneagain captured the truest essence of the 2017 vintage with its extreme purity, weightless fruit concentration that dances across the palate together with a focused, piercing intensity on the long, silky, luxurious finish. This is class personified and I for one am completely smitten. Drink on release and over 25+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)