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South Africa Has Best Terroir, Best Winemakers

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on July 4th, 2011

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The image of South African wine in the US has received a significant boost from a doyenne of France’s Bordeaux wine region. Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing informed an influential US audience that winemaking in South Africa has been going on for as long as Medoc’s with vines first planted in both regions in 1688. Combined with its history and the experience of the region’s winemakers, she commented: “South Africa has the best terroir, best winemakers.”

Madame de Lencquesaing is such a firm believer in the potential of the South African wine industry that in 2003 she acquired land on the southern slopes of the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch and founded Glenelly Estate.

While in New York she met with press, top distributors and key restaurant and retail accounts to share her stories and passion for South Africa.

A whirlwind of events organised by US importer Cape Classics included a first-ever meeting between influential Wine Spectator editor James Molesworth and Madame de Lencquesaing.

There were also meetings with the likes of Food & Wine magazine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin and a dinner with the top 10 wine distributors in the US – Madame de Lencquesaing spoke eloquently at the dinner of the history of South Africa’s terrior and winemaking history, drawing a parallel to that of Bordeaux’s.

On the final day of her visit Madame de Lencquesaing was interviewed by “World Wine Guys” Jeff Jenssen and Mike DeSimone for a new book project titled “The Complete Wines of the Southern Hemisphere”. Her visit concluded with a Master Sommelier and Master of Wine dinner at New York’s upscale Compose restaurant.

Considering herself more of an artist than a winemaker, Madame de Lencquesaing spoke of her passion for collecting glass pieces. She compared winemaking to glassmaking, explaining both are created from poor matter – sand and grape – to form rich pieces of art.

About Glenelly Wines:
Glenelly Estate is located on the southern slopes of the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch, South Africa. In 2003, May-Eliane de Lencquesaing acquired the land. For over 30 years Madame de Lencquesaing was owner of Bordeaux’s Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Winemaker Luke O’Cuinneagain joined Glenelly in 2007. Luke has also worked abroad at such prestigious wineries as Screaming Eagle and Château Angelus. Winemaker Adi Badenhorst serves as a consultant. Glenelly’s wines are fermented naturally and made with as little intervention as possible, seeking to achieve the perfect balance of French style and South African terroir. From the entry level “Glass Collection” — inspired by Madame de Lencquesaing’s antique glass collection — to the “Grand Vin de Glenelly” signature red blend and the flagship Bordeaux-inspired “Lady May” Cabernet, Glenelly crafts inspiring wines that possess quality, complexity and elegance while remaining a true expression of their vintage and terroir.

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