THE LEGACY OF CABERNET SAUVIGNON EXCELLENCE CONTINUES AT LE RICHE
With a Stellar Performance at the 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards
The Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 has been awarded a prestigious ‘Best in Show’ (97 points), the ultimate accolade attributed to the 50 best wines at the esteemed Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) in London, reaffirming Le Riche’s reputation as a producer of world-class Cabernet Sauvignon.
Now in its 20th year, the DWWA is the world’s largest and most influential wine competition, breaking records this year with 18 250 wines evaluated from 57 countries. Judged by 236 top wine experts from around the globe, the DWWA is trusted internationally for its world-class judging panel and its rigorous judging process.
“This exceptional recognition for our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (set to be released on the 3rd of July) in this distinguished global benchmarking competition, highlights our unwavering commitment to producing the finest expression of Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon,” says a very proud Christo Le Riche.
For 27 years, since the esteemed maiden 1997 vintage, Le Riche have been inextricably associated with Cabernet excellence, consistently producing some of the finest and most noteworthy Cabernet Sauvignons in the Cape.
“Focus on one thing and do it to the best of your ability” has always been Le Riche’s winemaking philosophy. From the very beginning, Le Riche have pursued a steadfast dedication to Cabernet Sauvignon, the veritable ‘King of Grapes’. Based in Stellenbosch, the ‘Kingdom of Cabernet’ — South Africa’s prime Cabernet territory — this commitment was optimal, with Cabernet Sauvignon being the backbone on which the famous wine region was built. Stellenbosch’s splendid geographical attributes with an array of elevation, aspects and ancient soils and a Mediterranean climate with maritime influences lie at the core of the excellent quality of Stellenbosch Cabernet.
Vintage after vintage, the Le Riche family — first Etienne on his own, later together with his children Christo and Yvonne who have now capably taken over the reins — have made it their business to produce the definitive expression of a Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, to great acclaim. Combining decades of experience and knowledge, they meticulously select and source only the highest-quality fruit from the best possible terroirs Stellenbosch has to offer. They work with a close network of trusted long-term, established wine farmers with unique vineyards based in the Stellenbosch wards of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg, along with the upper and lower foothills of the Helderberg Mountain. Every ward or region showcases vastly different terroir characteristics, adding compelling complexity to the wine.
Following their ethos of quality, elegance and consistency, their winemaking style is orientated around crafting the best Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignons, with minimal interference, letting the exceptional terroir speak for itself. The resulting wines show great elegance and class, consistently proving to be of superb quality and maturation potential.
LE RICHE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON – A STELLAR WINE WITH AN ENVIABLE PEDIGREE
The coveted Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the flagship of the range, is a statuesque expression of the very best Le Riche can make. Uncompromising vineyard selection and grape sourcing from Le Riche’s best performing vineyard blocks from Stellenbosch, the team dedicate the same level of scrupulous care to working with the grapes in the winery. The wine is opulent and generous, bold yet elegant, complex and layered with powerful yet refined tannins, a core of classic cassis fruit, subtle oak integration, a great freshness and excellent ageing ability. It is a wine where Le Riche spares no effort or cost to ensure a wine of outstanding quality and consistency. This is a wine made to age, a true investment. Reserve status is only endowed if the grapes and resulting wine measure up to an exceptional standard.
Over 23 vintages, the lauded Le Riche Reserve Cabernet has garnered massive reviews, high scores and ongoing international acclaim. In amongst many local and international accolades, including 95+ scores from Tim Atkin MW, Greg Sherwood MW and South African wine judge and critic Christian Eedes, this wine has received Platter’s pinnacle five-star rating ten times: for the 1997 (maiden vintage) 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007 Le Riche CWG Auction Reserve, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 (current vintage). In addition, the Platter’s 2010 Guide named the 2005 Reserve Cabernet their Red Wine of the Year, and both the 2015 and 2019 vintages were awarded ‘Cabernet of the Year’ in the Platter’s 2019 and 2023 wine guides respectively.
Le Riche’s tradition of Cabernet excellence was also reaffirmed when the Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 was awarded the Trophyfor Cabernet Sauvignon in 2021’s Global Fine Wine Challenge for New World Wine Countries. In addition, the runner up prize also went to Le Riche for their Reserve 2017, breaking a record as the first producer to be awarded both accolades in the same year.
Continuing the Le Riche legacy of Cabernet prestige, the Reserve 2020 vintage was honoured with a splendid ‘Best in Class’ accolade at the 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards, cementing its status as a world-class Cabernet, one of the 50 best wines in the world.
LE RICHE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020
Enter the highly anticipated new vintage Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 set to be released on 3rd July, another outstanding flagship Cabernet, a masterclass in the art of blending special Stellenbosch terroirs.
Vineyards and Winemaking: The Cabernet grapes were scrupulously selected from best performing vineyard parcels sourced from the Stellenbosch wards of Helderberg Coastal, Simonsberg and Helderberg Mountain. The vineyard blocks are micro-vinified separately up until final blending. Fermentation in open-top concrete fermenters, manual plunging to ensure optimal colour extraction, extended maceration to increase age-ability and the use of high-quality French oak (76% New French Oak for 24 months) ensure the pedigree of this distinguished wine. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, the wine matures in bottle for one year before release.
Tasting Notes: A wine in classic Cabernet style, the vibrant nose displays blackcurrant, cassis, black cherry and cedar notes, which are mirrored on the palate. The wine is brooding and dense yet sophisticated and elegant. The palate is rich, velvety and opulent yet remarkably fresh and linear showcasing black fruit, a creamy mouthfeel and dark chocolate finish. The structure is powerfully firm with round, structured tannins. A wine with a wonderfully long, complex finish showcasing great potential for maturation; A true investment. One of le Riche’s best vintages yet.
Food Pairing: The Le Riche family best enjoy their flagship Cabernet with a great steak, especially fillet or rump, on the coals or grilled.
Awards: ‘Best in Class’ at the 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards
Purchase: The Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 will be available for purchase, in the first week of July, at the Le Riche Cellar, at specialist wine stores nationally and online at www.leriche.co.za for R950 per bottle.
MORE ABOUT LE RICHE WINES
Etienne Le Riche, often referred to as the ‘King of South African Cabernet Sauvignon’, has been pivotal in the story of Cape Cabernet, consistently making some of South Africa’s best Cabernet Sauvignon for over 35 years. During a glorious 20-vintage winemaking era at Rustenberg Wines, he made the first certified Cabernet in South Africa — a 1971 Rustenberg Cabernet — was a founder member of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) and, amongst many prestigious accolades, was heralded as John Platter’s SA Wine Guide 1990 Wine Man of the Year.
His dream to own his own winery led him to establish Le Riche in 1996, initially operating from Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch, with the Le Riche business model of sourcing the highest quality fruit from a select group of trusted Stellenbosch grape growers with exceptional vineyards.
By 2010, Etienne had been joined by his children, Yvonne and Christo, to assist in the growing business. One of their first tasks was identifying a new home for Le Riche wines. In 2013, the Le Riche family built a new winery in Raithby on the lower slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. With traditional open-top concrete fermentation tanks mixed with a modern minimum intervention winemaking approach, the winery provides a platform to create ultra-premium wines with Le Riche’s trademark elegance and finesse. The first vintage in the new cellar was released in 2014.
Today Le Riche is under the stewardship of Christo and Yvonne. While founder Etienne le Riche is now retired, he still acts in an advisory role, ensuring the winery continues the pursuit of expressing the finest Cabernet possible.
Christo Le Riche studied winemaking and viticulture, and after a handful of years gaining international and local experience with the very best in the industry, he joined Le Riche as winemaker in 2010. Now Director and Cellarmaster, Christo has rapidly gained a reputation as a Cabernet Sauvignon pioneer in his own right, with five Platter’s 5-Stars under his belt, Platter’s Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year in 2019 and 2023, the Global Fine Wine Challenge Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy and Runner-up in 2021, excellent ratings from local and international wine critics and, hot-off-the-press a coveted ‘Best in Class’ for the 2020 Reserve at the 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards. Christo’s passion for Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon drives Le Riche Wines’ search to better understand its region. He is also a founder and current chairman of the Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective, an organisation promoting the merits of the region’s Cabernets on a local and global stage. Following in his father’s footsteps, Christo also recently welcomed as a new member of The Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG).
Yvonne Le Riche, a Cape Wine Master and graduate in politics and economics, looks after exports and logistics, and is always ready with an opinion on wine style and direction.
Christo and Yvonne are ably assisted by two other core team members, Francois le Riche, Commercial Manager and Mark Daniels, Assistant Winemaker who has been with Le Riche Wines since the very beginning.
THE OTHER WINES IN THE LE RICHE RANGE
LE RICHE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2021
The backbone of the range, it is a wine that delivers all the qualities that a Le Riche Cabernet should. Supple, elegant and rich with layers of fruit, this is Le Riche’s expression of Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit for this wine is sourced from selected vineyard sites in the Stellenbosch wards of Jonkershoek, Simonsberg, Helderberg Mountain and Helderberg Coastal. The conscientiously considered mix of cool gravelly slopes facing False Bay and rich red granitic sols around Stellenbosch ensure complexity and a beautiful balance of aromas and flavours in the final wine. This wine spent 22 months in 225L French oak barrels, 18% new oak.
Tasting Notes: The bouquet displays inviting aromas of plum, cherry and blackcurrant with hints of violet and cedar. On the palate the wine is fruit forward showing delicious fresh black fruits and a juicy entry. Firm tannins assist in creating a voluptuous, creamy mouthfeel which is balanced by a long, appetising finish. A classic Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon that can be enjoyed young or will benefit beautifully from cellaring.
Retail Price: R330
LE RICHE RICHESSE 2021
As advocates of Stellenbosch, the Richesse is a nod to the blending heritage of the region. ‘Richesse’ meaning ‘wealth’ in French, refers to the wealth of winemaking history the Stellenbosch region has to its name. This wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend, incorporating Cinsaut and smaller amounts of Bordeaux cultivars Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. It represents a time-honoured tradition of Cabernet Sauvignon production within the Stellenbosch region, where blending with Cinsaut was prevalent pre-1980 and blending with Bordeaux varieties became popular post-1980. The fruit, sourced from select vineyards in the Stellenbosch wards of Firgrove, Jonkershoek, Helderberg, Bottelary and Raithby, spent 18 months in older French oak barrels.
Tasting Notes: The final blend rests on the structure of the Cabernet Sauvignon and is complemented by a perfumed nose, fruit-forwardness and accessibility thanks to the Cinsaut, while the other varieties add to the complexity and texture of this versatile wine. Forthcoming aromas of sweet cherries, raspberries and fresh black berries are supported by hints of cedar. The aromas are mirrored on the palate with a succulent, juicy entry and mouth- filling flavours of red and black berries. Balanced chalky tannins enhance the silky mouthfeel and long delicate finish.
Retail Price: R210
LE RICHE CHARDONNAY 2021
As the only white wine in the Le Riche portfolio, Chardonnay is often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Grape Kingdom’, making it the perfect match to the ‘King of the Grapes’, Cabernet Sauvignon. Stellenbosch terroir is ideal for producing excellent offerings of Chardonnay, making a fitting white pairing to Le Riche’s red wine focus.
The Le Riche Chardonnay grapes are sourced from two separate vineyards from the southern area of Stellenbosch. Here, the vines face the cooling winds from False Bay, resulting in fruit that has a delicate structure and a slight minerality. With subtle oaking in order to highlight the inherent fruit freshness and citrus zest naturally present in the wine. Aged for 11 months in a combination of clay amphorae and French oak barrels, the final result shows a fresh acidity and fruit-forwardness while remaining dynamic in complexity.
Tasting Notes: Inviting aromas of fresh peach and apricot are complemented by a hint of blossoms and mandarin. A crisp entry is followed by stoned fruit flavours and balanced with a butterscotch creaminess on the palate. A flinty edge complements the vibrant acidity. A well-rounded, appetising wine showcasing a long, yet refined finish.
Retail price: R295
LE RICHE WINES
Address: 8 Raithby-Annandale Road, Raithby, Stellenbosch
Tel: 021 842 3472
Open for wine sales: Monday to Friday: 9:00 – 16:00
Tastings by appointment only
Closed: Weekends and public holidays