Glen Carlou, a 145 ha vineyard near Paarl, is one of the region’s finest wine estates. Purchased several years ago by well-known South African winemaker, Walter Finlayson, twice named as Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year, who recognised its potential for producing wine grapes of outstanding quality.
No stranger to the rehabilitation of wine farms or the production of fine wines, Walter transformed Glen Carlou by careful preparation of almost topsoil free soils and followed by the planting of virus free varieties. In 1989 the Winery whose design incorporates ideas used in the winemaking regions of the USA and France was built into the mountainside at the highest vantagepoint of the farm. Its underground cellar holds 2 000 French and American oak barrels in ideal conditions for the maturation of wine.
David Finlayson, Walter’s son joined the company in 1994 and has been making the wines alone since 1996. David, the top academic student in 1993 at Elsenburg College, South Africa, where he qualified, has worked in Bordeaux and Australia where he gained the experience to make Glen Carlou’s wines into the international benchmark wines that they are today. David is a member and former Chairman of the Cape Winemakers Guild, which represents the best winemakers of South Africa.
Under David’s guidance the medals cabinet at Glen Carlou positively creaks with awards for all their wines from both local and international wine competitions that include Chardonnay du Monde in France and The International Wine and Spirit Challenge in London. Glen Carlou Chardonnay 2002 was rated as the No.1 white wine in the world by Wine Spectator in value for money in the under $15.00 bracket. After a decade of ratings South Africa’s Wine Magazine recently named Glen Carlou as one of South Africa’s Top Ten Cellars.
Glen Carlou was the first Cape winery to be partnered with a Californian winery – The Hess Collection in Napa – making Glen Carlou part of a global company that owns wineries in Napa, Australia, Argentina and South Africa. Large-scale renovations recently started will result in a state-of-the-art Cellar and an Art Gallery showcasing works owned by the Hess Group. Vineyards are being expanded, and more effort and expertise is going into the whole process from vine to bottle to ensure that the quality of Glen Carlou wines is world class.
Each one of the wines is a benchmark in its own way. We served the Grand Classique – delicious classical Bordeaux, lovely mint-edged spice and ripe berry fruit , the Chardonnay – creamy lemony rich and buttery, middleweight and minerally and the Syrah – fruit driven New World style, much be-medalled internationally in our restaurant, Parks in Cape Town to the great acclaim of our guests. Glen Carlou also produces two Tortoise Hill Red and Tortoise Hill White wines “for everyday drinking.”
Paarl Winegrowing Region, on the Eastern slopes of the Simonsberg. Winemaker: Arco Laarman