4 good reasons to celebrate #glencarlou30 this summer

by on 10.10.2017

While the Cape Winelands may be beautiful at any time of year, there’s just something exceptional about summer: vineyards wearing their brightest green, juxtaposed against a searing blue sky, marching up and down the rolling hills in pleasingly symmetric lines.

Add to the mix a cool wooden deck from which to enjoy the view, a frosty glass of award-winning Chardonnay, wafts of delectable dishes in the making and the buzz of good vibes all round.

Welcome to Glen Carlou.

Something of a hidden gem cherished by locals and visitors alike, this boutique Simondium winery is celebrating its 30th vintage this year and has marked the occasion with a number of festive get-togethers. 

Destinate assisted with the management of one of the most recent #glencarlou30 events, where guests got to sample the summer menu, take a cellar tour, view some thought-provoking local art and, of course, toast to three decades of exceptional wines.

Adding to the excitement, managing director, Johan Erasmus announced that Glen Carlou was at a memorable crossroads in its history, as an entirely South African consortium of shareholders was about to buy the farm from Swiss owner, Donald Hess.

Established by Cape Town-born wine legend, Walter Finlayson in 1985 and taken to new heights by Hess from 1995 onwards, Johan Erasmus expressed how delighted they were to have a new group of shareholders taking Glen Carlou back to its home-grown roots. 

As the festive season gets into full swing over the next few months, we simply can’t think of a better location to throw a little soiree of your own. And here’s why:

Award-winning Chardonnay


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When Glen Carlou produced its very first Chardonnay in 1988, the wine became an icon overnight. Somehow, Finlayson and his team had managed to straddle the notorious divide between South Africa’s inevitable new world terroir and old-world method of French Oak aging, producing a fresh and elegant Chardonnay that still appealed to the more classic taste.

While the farm now produces a diverse range of varietals - from the brand new easy-drinking Pinot Noir Rosé to the majestic Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon – it was Chardonnay that set the bar and continues to take centre stage.

Glen Carlou currently produces three Chardonnays - each remarkable in its own way.

The Glen Carlou Wooded Chardonnay is their best-seller worldwide and an absolute classic. The secret to its success? The wine is aged in French Oak barrels that are first wholly submerged in a tank of boiling water and then smoked while still wet, offering a rich and rounded caramel taste.

For those who prefer something slightly fresher, Glen Carlou offers an Unwooded Chardonnay that is remarkably light. Undergoing its aging process in egg-shaped concrete barrels, the wine has become a popular contender for the Sauvignon Blanc market, especially those who are looking for something a bit more interesting, but aren’t ready to switch over to wooded wines just yet.

Finally, there is the single vineyard Quartz Stone. One of Glen Carlou’s three flagship offerings, this wine is produced from the oldest Chardonnay block – planted in 1989 – on the farm and stays in the barrel for 11 – 12 months. Needless to say, this vineyard requires a lot of TLC, but continues to produce a fantastic yield.

Winemaker, Johnnie Calitz, says that although they know that one day this special block will have to be retired, he believes it would be wise to conserve it nonetheless, even if the yield is minute.

While at least one of these Chardonnays should be on your tasting list when visiting Glen Carlou, we highly recommend sampling the 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé and the 2015 Syrah too. 

Perfectly paired food


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Striking the perfect balance between consistency and keeping things fresh, Restaurant @ Glen Carlou undergoes an exciting menu update every three months.

Inspired by the changing seasons and the panoramic views, Chef Johan Stander is an expert at creating classic dishes with a contemporary twist, each of which complements at least one of Glen Carlou’s award-winning wines.

According to marketing manager Georgina Prout, the menu is entirely focused on the wine and only dishes that can be paired perfectly, will make the cut.

Be sure to visit the Glen Carlou website to check up on any menu updates. If you’re still in time to catch the Spring menu, we highly recommend the Ostrich Fillet, paired with Glen Carlou Syrah.

Carefully curated art



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Over the past few years, Glen Carlou has established itself as a go-to destination for South African art lovers.

Curated by local painter, Alex Hamilton, the gallery space houses a vibrant collection of contemporary, pop and modern art in mediums as diverse as photography, installation, embroidery and ceramics, as well as classic paintings and sculptures.

On 3 December, Hamilton will be opening a brand new exhibition titled ‘Cruel, cruel summer’.

“The name, of course, pays tribute to that catchy Bananarama hit – hinting at the party atmosphere that comes with the festive season. However, it goes a bit deeper than that, with many of the artworks exploring the loneliness that many experience during this time too,” Hamilton explains.

The gallery is open Monday – Sunday from 10:00 – 16:00. Check out the Glen Carlou website for any updates.

Magnificent views

Words simply don’t suffice, so we’ll just leave these here:



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Competition time!

To get you into the festive swing of things, we’re giving away 6 bottles of Glen Carlou Wine valued at R680!

All you have to do is share this post on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #glencarlou30. Please also tag us:

Twitter: @destinate_co

Facebook: @destinate.co.za

Competition closes 31 October, winner to be announced on 1 November. Good luck!


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