“The journey of Lady May started ten years ago, in 2008, when I was invited to visit May de Lencquesaing in France,” recalls Glenelly winemaker Luke O’Cuinneagain. “She poured me a glass of wine to taste. All I knew was that it was a special Bordeaux wine from her cellar. Despite the obvious age of the wine it displayed extraordinary finesse, freshness and depth. To my huge surprise the wine turned out to be an 1873 Lafite Rothschild, ‘the benchmark’, according to Madame, for the flagship wine we would be producing at Glenelly. Four years later we launched Lady May, named in honour of Glenelly’s Grande Dame. 2008 was the first step on an exciting adventure towards producing a ground-breaking Bordeaux-style wine with great elegance and exceptional ageing ability.”
Lady May is crafted predominantly from a single Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard planted on a cool east facing slope, with a dash of other Bordeaux varieties. In the style of its owner, the wine is elegant, distinguished and venerable. A sculpture of May de Lencquesaing by famous French artist Maxime Real del Sarte (1948), a wedding gift, adorns the label.
A new look
With the Glass Collection and the Estate Reserve looking resplendent in their new label design, Arthur de Lencquesaing (head of marketing at Glenelly) also redesigned the Lady May packaging for the 2012 vintage. The refreshed label captures the purity and elegance of the wine. The warm gold colour of the new capsule and the illustration on the label all reflect a return to May’s illustrious roots at Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Bordeaux, where the original capsules were a similar shade. On the back label, May describes her vision for this special cuvee.
“It has always been my dream to craft the finest Cabernet Sauvignon blend outside of France. At the grand age of 78, I finally discovered Glenelly Estate, in the heart of the iconic Stellenbosch, the ideal place for my vision to become reality. Selected from the highest and coolest vineyard slopes, these grapes confer to Lady May elegance, exceptional depth and ageing potential. This wine is my legacy.”
Thriving for the best
Having been set an enormous challenge by Madame, Glenelly have produced several highly-acclaimed vintages of Lady May, reaping prestigious awards, including a pinnacle 5-star rating for the 2009 vintage in Platter’s wine guide. In 2017 Tim Atkin, Master of Wine and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge (IWC), paid tribute to May de Lenquesaing and Glenelly at the IWC Awards ceremony when she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. “Anyone who has been lucky enough to drink a bottle of the legendary 1982 Pichon Lalande and to see the foundations she laid at the Château will recognise what she achieved in Bordeaux; anyone who has tasted recent vintages of her Glenelly Lady May red will recognise what she has achieved in South Africa. Few people make such a mark on two continents.” The 2012 vintage received 95 points from Tim Atkin MW.
The Lady May vertical Experience
To launch the latest wine of Lady May, several journalists were invited for a series of vertical tastings and lunch. This is always a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the influence of a vintage in the personality of each wine. Guests could taste all vintages from 2008 to 2012 and further understand the style and the vision. The single varietals which will make Lady May 2017 were also tasted from the barrels. To push the exercise even further, freshly cut grapes that might form a part of the 2018 blend were also served!
Guests were then welcomed by May de Lencquesaing to discover the latest addition of the newly refurbished museum and followed by a lunch with Chef Christophe Dehosse at the Vine Bistro, an occasion to focus on the pairing.
Very well received by the journalists and the trade, the new vintage is receiving a great coverage and progressively making its way to the shelves and wine lists. From South Africa, you can now access it through our new e-commerce page and for anywhere else, check here!