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Le Riche Family Marks 25 Years of Excellence with the 2021 Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Release

Le Riche Family Marks 25 Years of Excellence with the 2021 Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Release

Ever since the esteemed maiden 1997 vintage, the Le Riche family has been inextricably associated with cabernet excellence. Internationally acclaimed as a leading ultra-premium producer of world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, they have made it their business to craft the ultimate expression of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stellenbosch Winelands of South Africa. The coveted Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the flagship of the range, is a statuesque expression of the very best Le Riche can produce. The soon-to-be released Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the celebrated 2021 vintage, is proving to be another benchmark of excellence.

“This highly anticipated 2021 release, ‘a sensational benchmark’ comes hard on the heels of the highly rated 2020 and 2019 from Christo le Riche, and the impressive 2021 completes the trilogy of block buster vintages from this Cabernet specialist… Simply sublime, awesome even, and most definitely a vintage that will come to define premium quality Cabernet for years to come. A true classic that will richly reward bottle ageing,” says Master of Wine Greg Sherwood on Wine Safari, who scored the 2021 Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon a mighty 98+/100 at a pre-release tasting.

le riche cabernet sauvignon reserve with a fire in the background


Over 25 vintages, the lauded Le Riche Reserve Cabernet has garnered widespread acclaim, including ten Platter’s pinnacle five-star ratings  (for the 1997 maiden vintage, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007 Le Riche CWG Auction Reserve, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 vintages), Platter’s Red Wine of the Year award for the 2005 vintage and Platter’s Cabernet of the Year awards for the 2015 and 2019 vintages. 

Le Riche’s Cabernet stardom was also manifest when the Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 was awarded the Trophy for Cabernet Sauvignon in 2021’s Global Fine Wine Challenge for New World Wine Countries hosted in Australia. In addition, the runner-up prize also went to Le Riche for the Reserve 2017, breaking a record as the first producer to be awarded both accolades in the same year.

The 2020 Le Riche Reserve Cabernet proudly continued this legacy of excellence, winning a splendid ‘Best in Class’ accolade at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards in 2023, cementing its status as a world-class Cabernet and one of the 50 best wines in the world.

Le Riche’s distinguished stature was further endorsed by renowned UK wine critic Tim Atkin in his South Africa 2023 Special Report, where he awarded the 2020 Reservea whopping 99 points, describing it as  “the Latour of South Africa”; honoured Le Riche as one of the 25 First Growths in his ‘Cape Classification’ for the first time; and named founder Etienne le Riche his ‘Winemaking Legend’ of the year. Further affirmation for the 2020 Le Riche Reserve Cabernet unfolded across the Atlantic with an exceptional 98-point rating in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

Enter the 2021 vintage of the Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon. Christo le Riche, who has successfully taken over the reins of the multi-generational Le Riche winery from his legendary father Etienne, is all praise for the soon-to-be released 2021 vintage. “In his acclaimedSouth Africa 2023 Special Report, Tim Atkin contended the 2021 vintage could rank as one of the Cape’s best-ever vintages to date.I believe our 2021 Reserve will compete as one of the greatest.

It is a tannic vintage with elegant fruit and great aging potential and will be a stellar investment in satisfaction for any Cabernet enthusiast. I like to describe it as ‘an iron fist in a velvet glove’, a delicate tight-rope of muscle and power, precision, balance and seductive elegance.”

Christo continues, “For 28 years we  have made it our business to produce the definitive expression of Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, pursuing  a steadfast dedication to the veritable ‘King of Grapes’ and the ‘Crown Jewell’ of the Stellenbosch wine region.

le riche winemaking team

Combining decades of experience and knowledge, we meticulously select and source only the highest-quality fruit from the best possible terroirs Stellenbosch has to offer. We 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 our wines. Following our ethos of quality, elegance and consistency, our 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, consistent superb quality and maturation potential.

For our Reserve, final blending by our team forms the key step in determining the style and character of our flagship wine. Reserve status is only endowed if the grapes and resulting wine measure up to our exceptional standard. This year we are also releasing three Single Vineyard Cabernets, (only 300 bottles of each) to help tell the story of Stellenbosch and the amazing diversity this region offers.”

Le Riche Simonsberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

This trellised single Simonsberg vineyard was planted in 2004 in deep red decomposed granite soils. After fermentation for 21 days in concrete open top fermenters, spontaneous malolactic followed in 225L French oak barrels, after which the wine was transferred to 50% new French oak barrels for 12 months, followed by another 12 months in a single new barrel.

The wine was then racked and bottled. Inviting aromas of blackberry, cassis and brambles jump out of the glass followed by hints of spice and black pepper.

The palate showcases red and black pastilles coupled with fresh black fruits, a vibrant acidity, a fine yet gripping tannin structure, a creamy mouthfeel and a long and rich finish.

Le Riche Steynsrust Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

This trellised Firgrove single vineyard was planted in 1997 in deep red decomposed granite soils. After fermentation for 17 days in an unlined concrete tank, spontaneous malolactic followed in 225L French oak barrels, after which the wine was transferred to 50% new French oak barrels for 12 months, followed by another 12 months in a second-fill barrel, after which the wine was bottled unfiltered.

Fresh cherry aromas and spearmint play alongside a mint chocolate complexity on the nose. The aromas are mirrored on the palate with overall elegance exuded throughout.

A chalky tannin coupled with balanced acidity ensure an appetising, juicy edge. A Cabernet Sauvignon brimming with flavour yet with a delicate underlying elegance and a refined, long finish.

Le Riche Bosstok Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

This Helderberg coastal single bush vine vineyard was planted in 2008 in duplex sandy gravel soils with a deep clay layer. After fermentation for 10 days in a concrete open top fermenter, spontaneous malolactic fermentation took place in barrel, followed by ageing in 225L French oak barrels (75% new) for 24 months.

The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Densely dark purple in the glass, this brooding wine displays intense black fruit aromas and savoury all spice notes.

A full flavoured black fruit palate showcases blackberries, cassis, all spice and some liquorice. Big and bold on the palate yet with a striking overall lightness. Gripping tannins are softened by a creamy mouthfeel promising maturation potential. A showcase Cabernet!

Purchase the 2021 Le Riche Single Vineyard Cabernets: A three-bottle pack of the Le Riche 2021 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, showcasing the diversity of Stellenbosch terroir, will be available for purchase, from the first week of June, at the Le Riche Cellar and online at www.leriche.co.za for R1050 per bottle.


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.

“From the very beginning we have pursued a steadfast dedication to Cabernet Sauvignon.Focus on one thing and do it to the best of your ability is our winemaking philosophy,” says Etienne. During a glorious 20-vintage winemaking era at Rustenberg Wines, Etienne made the first certified Cabernet in South Africa, a 1971 Rustenberg Cabernet.

He was also a founder member of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) and, amongst many prestigious accolades at the time, 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 a 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 and a minimal 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.

Le Riche Wines has journeyed from a solo venture by Etienne to a highly-reputed family business. Now a multi-generational venture, including Etienne’s children and extended family, the winery is looking to the future with creativity and vision to continue the legacy.

Today, Le Riche is managed by four core members, comprising Director and Cellarmaster Christo le Riche, Cape Wine Master and Export and Logistics Manager Yvonne le Riche, Commercial and Marketing Manager Francois le Riche and Assistant Winemaker Mark Daniels who has been with Le Riche Wines since the very beginning.

While founder Etienne is now retired, he still acts in an advisory role, ensuring the winery continues the pursuit of the finest Cabernet.


Since his first vintage in 2011, Christo has rapidly gained a reputation as a Cabernet Sauvignon pioneer in his own right, garnering a long line of prestigious awards for his wines.

His passion for Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon drives Le Riche Wines’ search to better understand its region. He is 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 is also a member of The Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG). Looking ahead to the future, Christo states, “We will always stick to Stellenbosch when it comes to Cabernet.

It is South Africa’s prime Cabernet territory and one of the great Cabernet regions of the world. 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.

At the moment we are securing and planting new vineyards that will be able to carry us for the next 30 years. I am really looking forward to working with this fruit, and some new wards like Polkadraai and Bottelary.”



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, 12% new oak.

Tasting Notes: The bouquet displays vibrant aromas of blackberry, plums and fresh cherry with hints of cassis and spice. The palate shows sweet fruit on entry followed by a delicious red and black fruit pastilles complexity. Firm tannins and balanced acidity assist in creating a voluptuous mid-bodied mouthfeel. A long finish is complemented with hints of dark chocolate, black cherry and cedar. A classic Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon.

Retail Price: R390


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 (57%), incorporating Cinsaut (19%) and smaller amounts of Bordeaux cultivars Cabernet Franc (9%), Petit Verdot (8%) and Merlot (7%).

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 Helderberg Coastal, Helderberg North, Simonsberg and Bottelary, spent 12 months in older 225L French oak barrels, whereafter the components were blended and further matured in 225L barrels, 5000L oak foudres and concrete tanks for a further eight months.

Tasting Notes: Forthcoming aromas of sweet cherries, fresh raspberries and blackberries are supported by a captivating perfume of violets. A crisp entry is followed by a summer fruit explosion of red berries and a hint of cedar. On the palate chalky tannins and an appetising acidity elevate the delicate, yet lingering finish. A harmonious blend, where the Cabernet Sauvignon imparts body and complexity while the Cinsaut contributes enchanting perfume and approachability, creating a truly versatile wine.

Retail Price: R230


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 with the ‘King of the Grapes’, Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Le Riche Chardonnay grapes are sourced from vineyards in the Helderberg Coastal and Polkadraai wards. Hand selected grapes were delicately pressed as whole bunches and fermented with wild yeasts. After fermentation, the wine was allowed to age on its gross lees for 11 months before bottling.

This aging occurred in a mixture of new (25%) and older French oak barrels, as well as ceramic clay pots.

Tasting Notes: Delicate aromas of brioche and fresh stone fruit are complemented by a lemony tang. The entry is crisp, with white peach and fresh apricot flavours enhanced by a balanced creaminess, vibrant acidity and a flinty edge. This Chardonnay is a well-rounded, appetising wine showcasing a long, yet refined finish.

Retail price:  R350

Purchase: The Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon (R390), Richesse (R230) and Chardonnay (R350) are available for purchase at the Le Riche Cellar, at specialist wine stores nationally and online at www.leriche.co.za.

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