Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lunch at Glenelly's new Bistro "The Vine" with a tasting of the wines

Christophe Dehosse has recently opened his Bistro at Glenelly and we were invited for lunch to see what he is doing, sample the food and taste the Glenelly wines with Cellarmaster Luke O'Cuinneagain. Glenelly is owned by Lady May-Éliane de Lencquesaing who fell in love with South Africa on a visit and subsequently bought the farm. She wanted to start from scratch and aims to make the best wines the land can produce, using only grapes grown on Glenelly. She was previously the owner and manager of the esteemed 2nd growth Wine estate Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Pauillac in Bordeaux, which was sold in 2004 to Louis Roederer. She trained in Oenology at the age of 35. She is now 91 and amazing for her age. She is one of our icons
Some canapés: Really well made salmon trout gravadlax, tiny cornichon, a duck liver mousse, some Parma ham and some savoury cannelés of Bordeaux topped with olive pesto (these are made with a batter enriched with rum and vanilla. They also appeared later as dessert, soaked in syrup)
The Glenelly tasting room

The front of the bar is made from beautiful grey granite taken from the farm. It is soon to be in-filled with black granite to make it more visible.
Mike Bampfield Duggan of Wine Concepts talking to Luke. The tasting room has wonderful views of Ida's Valley
The amusing Glenelly logo depicts owner Lady May-Éliane de Lencquesaing astride a rhino, clutching one of the most precious glasses from her extensive and valuable collection. This will soon be on display in the Glass Collection museum on the farm. Arthur explained that the rider depicts elegance and moving forward with balance. The glass is rare and the rhino is African - Glenelly
Admiring the view. The farm nestles into the valley which is at the foothills of the Simonsberg mountains. They are lucky enough to have vines with many different aspects. And they are beautifully maintained by viticulturist Heinrich Louw
When Lady May bought the farm, it only grew fruit. Now it has 60 hectares of vines. She began planting the grapes in 2003 and the first wines were made in 2008
Chatting with Chef Christophe Dehosse and Arthur de Lencquesaing, one of Lady May's grandsons, who is now responsible for marketing. His brother Nicolas is responsible for Sales
We begin the wine tasting with Luke. We tasted the unoaked 2012 Chardonnay, full of lees and melons, with long crisp flavours of lime and butter. "It is just beginning to drink well now," says Luke "and it ages well, as do most South African white wines". Glenelly are putting more and more wines away to ages including white wines. They find the Asian markets focus on texture more than on aromatics. The barrel fermented 2014 Chardonnay which is 100% malolactic fermented has clean rich golden fruit, a whiff of smoke and a silky buttery mouth feel with crisp limes and lemons, some warmth and a long ending of butter
Arthur talked to us while we tasted the reds. First was the 2014 Glass Collection Syrah, a spicy deep and rich wine that needs a lot of time for the fruit and the chalky tannins to soften. The 2014 Merlot has molasses, dark toasted wood, black cherries on the nose and palate. long cherry flavours, some maraschino too also needs several years./ The Glass Collection 2014 Cabernet Franc has nice savoury umami and smoke on the nose, with minerality, perfume and prunes.. Its acids are softer and the long flavours and soft tannins make this accessible. The 2014 Glenelly Cabernet Sauvignon came next and is classic filled with cassis berries and leaves. On the palate is has a very good cassis base, long and elegant with chalky softness and dark toasted end
Then the 2011 Glenelly Reserve - an old school claret in style. It is a blend of 36% Syrah 34% Cabernet 20% Merlot and 10% Petite Verdot. They used 35% new French oak. Incense wood, umami and cinnamon with some cooked berries and rhubarb on the complex ethereal layered nose. Soft fruit on the plate then structure takes over. Fruit acids and grippy tannins and a very attractive long finish. It is made to last and be a great wine
Then came the Lady May 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. It is so sophisticated with a red velvet nose with superb cassis, cherries, milk chocolate and coffee mocha wood, some herbs and green leaves with violets on the end. 85% Cabernet 10% Petite Verdot 5% Merlot.. It begins soft as silk then the inbuilt cheek gripping tannins and long chalky mouth feel take over, as they should on a wine made to last. Sour sweet cherries and cassis. This wine has legs and will travel far. "They are seeking the best expression the wines can show on this farm" says Arthur
The line up of wines we tasted
Time for lunch. The restaurant is below the tasting room and has good outdoor seating and great views
We had lots of questions for Arthur
Chef Christophe comes to tell us about lunch - he was giving us a selection of starters from the menu, so we could try some of the different dishes, a main course and a selection of desserts.. Lunch was served family style, except for the main course.
The current menu. This will change according to seasonal availability of the best produce
Franschhoek Trout gravadlax with baby beetroot and a sweet dill dressing
Fresh seasonal white asparagus with a lemon dressing, a tomato, herb and onion salad and a parmesan crisp
Tuna tartare on a crisp vegetable salad, samphire and a lemon and soya dressing
We loved the duck and pistachio galantine served with fig chutney, cornichon pickles and golden buttery toasted brioche,  The starters were accompanied by the two Chardonnays
The main course was perfectly medium rare fillet steak, baby carrots & fennel, and mushrooms with a creamy mashed potato and a really good wine jus. Alongside the fillet was a sweetbread which sadly many did not eat. It is a challenging ingredient even for us. The main course was accompanied by the Lady May 2008 Reserve - a lovely wine, so suited to food, especially red meat with a good jus
Then for the dessert selection. First a warm oozy chocolate biscuit served with wine poached pears and Chantilly cream. Several people fought over this dessert it was so good
A cheese platter for those who prefer a savoury ending to lunch. All artisanal South African cheeses. Yes that frilly stuff IS cheese, not raw cauliflower, and rather nice medium soft cheese. The wine served with dessert was the 2010 Shiraz
Cannelé doused with fynbos honey and accompanied by caramelised pineapple (lovely) and rooibos tea ice cream (great if you enjoy rooibos). Most people didn't know what cannelé were, so those of us who did ate them all. They are light and buttery with a batter consistency and they take syrup on board excellently.
A trio of really good ice cream and sorbet. The red berry sorbet was simply divine
PRO Posey Hazell, who organised the day, with some magnificent pink roses from Glenelly's garden. A most enjoyable day. We hope to return soon to see the Glass Collection and bring friends to dine in the restaurant. Christophe is still involved in his Joostenberg restaurant, he has a very good chef in charge there running it
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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