"Focus on one thing and do it to the best of your ability", is Etienne's winemaking mantra. Cabernet Sauvignon is his life's work and his signature Cabernet has developed a deserved and enviable cult following.
His followers will be delighted with Le Riche’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, which Etienne believes is one of the Cape’s best vintages in his 30-year winemaking career. Le Riches Cabernets offer everything you want in a Cabernet: lush fruit and accessibility when young; and superb elegance, finesse and harmony, with great balance and structure which contribute to their remarkable ageing potential.
Often referred to as the King of South African Cabernet Sauvignon, Etienne le Riche has consistently been making some of South Africa’s best Cabernet Sauvignon for over 30 years: during a glorious twenty-vintage winemaking era at Rustenberg Wines and since 1996, on his own, in true artisanal style, at the tiny Leef op Hoop farm in the beautiful Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch. More recently the weight of his crown has been lightened by his marketing-trained daughter, Yvonne, and his winemaker son, Christo. As a small family winery they have both spent many hours at their father’s side, in the vineyards and in the cellar, and they both now work fulltime at Le Riche Wines. They are the future of Le Riche Wines.
The Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is a wine that will mesmerise you. Before it was even released it earned a spot in the 2012 Top 100 SA Wines selection and it was rated one of SA’s Top 6 Cabernets by Classic Wine magazine.
A wine in classic Cape Cabernet style, the nose displays hints of mint, cherries and spice. These are mirrored on the palate, which has a structure that is powerfully firm, with abundant sweet fruit, juicy tannins and a lingering finish. This wine is simply delicious, rich and succulent, and will reward handsomely with further ageing. It retails nationally between R350 and R370.
Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 displays forthcoming ripe cherry aromas with a spiciness and touch of mint. Soft, smooth and velvety tannins are balanced on the palate by a firm structure and lingering, succulent finish. The wine will benefit from a further 4-to-6 years maturation. It retails nationally at ±R160.
After two highly successful decades in the South African wine industry, during which Etienne was heralded as John Platter’s SA Wine Guide 1990 Wine Man of the Year, he decided to go it alone and pursue his dreams at the modest, run-down cellar at Leef op Hoop, appropriately meaning Live on Hope. He refurbished the derelict old cellar, installed good second-hand equipment and a small bottling line, and set about sourcing the best grapes for his wines. Since then the Le Riche Cabernets have been made from the same component of Stellenbosch vineyards, each vineyard making a particular contribution to the final blend, with the wines always reflecting the true nature of the vintage.
The first wine produced on Leef op Hoop was the Le Riche Reserve Cabernet 1997. It was an immediate success, earning five stars in the annual John Platter guide, a Veritas Double Gold, was selected="true" for SAA First Class and awarded the Air France Preteux Bourgeois Trophy – an amazing debut. The Le Riche Cabernet Reserve, standard Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Merlot blend have continued to reap rich rewards over the years, on both the international and local show circuit. The Le Riche Reserve Cabernet has always been the icon wine, being awarded 5 stars in the Platter’s SA Wine Guide for four vintages; the maiden 1997, then 1999, 2000 and 2005. Platter’s 2010 Guide also named the 2005 Reserve Cabernet their Red Wine of the Year.
Le Riche also makes a wonderful Chardonnay. Produced every second year since 2006, this Chardonnay is typically understated, Burgundy-style: exuding buttery brioche and juicy ripe pear flavours.
Tastings are by appointment:
Tel/Fax: 021 887 0789
Join Le Riche on Facebook to follow discussions and opinions about the wines.