May’s London based grandsons Nicolas (head of export at Glenelly) and Arthur (head of marketing) decided to bring Luke, Glenelly’s winemaker to visit London. The programme? A series of splendid wine tastings and dinners with top accounts and private wine lovers in England’s capital.
Few cities can compete with the exciting, dynamic and varied world of the London food and wine scene. South Africa enjoys a great presence in the wine lists of the capital thanks to the support of many sommeliers who laud its excellent quality at reasonable prices. Some of its greatest ambassadors are Gareth Ferreira, sommelier of 67 Pall Mall and Core by Clare Smyth and Gerard Basset MW OBE, journalist and sommelier who has visited Glenelly several times.
20 sommeliers from London’s most iconic restaurants such as Gordon Ramsey’s, the Ledbury and La Trompette joined Glenelly at Cabotte, the restaurant managed by Master Sommelier Xavier Rousset. Before a delicious lunch, they enjoyed a vertical tasting of Lady May from the first vintage in 2008 to the 2012, which is now landing in the UK.
Tasting the 5 vintages side by side showed the marked difference in years, from the very fresh 2008 to the solar and ripe 2009. Yet, the uniting factor amongst all the offerings was their distinctive style, their hallmark of black fruits, dry herbs, great concentration and incredible ageing potential. In a tasting in 2016, the notable journalist Steven Spurrier even made the comment that Lady May was probably the most Pauillac South African wine!
Fully-booked within just a few hours, two dinners were held at Brackenbury Wine Rooms dinners with 30 guests each night. Nicolas, Arthur and Luke presented the full range of Glenelly to the private consumers, friends and family. It was thoroughly enjoyable evening of discovery and wine pairing.
The remainder of the week was taken up with touring and tasting. Nicolas and Luke met sommeliers and wine buyers from top restaurants, hotels and merchants, all ready to soon become supporters of Glenelly wines!
The pinnacle of Luke’s visit was a tasting at the private members club 67 Pall Mall where he conducted a Lady May vertical masterclass. With a Master of Wine in the room and 40 other savvy wine connoisseurs, it was a highly engaging evening with plenty of debate and discussion, notably over the rise of South African collectible bottles shaking the classic Bordeaux Burgundy dominance in private wine collections.
After a jam-packed week in London, it was time for Luke to fly back to South Africa where the 2018 harvest was getting underway…