A lot of wine producing countries around the world regularly used the word “Reserve” on wines that do not strictly merit the accolade. Perhaps spending a little longer in oak or maybe picked a little riper, there are many representations of what the term means. But for Etienne and Christo Le Riche, Reserve status is only bestowed on a wine if the grapes, mainly from older lower yielding vines, and the resulting wine measures up to an exceptional standard. This is the yardstick collectors and connoisseurs have come to expect when they buy a bottle of this benchmark Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon also represents a masterclass in the art of blending special Stellenbosch terroirs from vines grown on decomposed granitic soils, sandy/loamy duplex gravels and deep clay rich oakleaf soils from the Simonsberg.
Vintage after vintage, the Le Riche family, starting with father Etienne, and now continuing more latterly with Christo, have consistently produced some of the finest and most noteworthy single varietal Cabernet Sauvignons in the Cape. If you don’t know these wines intimately already, I suggest you dive in and see what all the fuss is all about! You will not be disappointed.
Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 14.19% Abv.
1.6g/l RS | 5.9g/l TA | 3.68 pH
This is a wine I have been looking forward to tasting for some time. Benchmark every year, the 2019 is a truly sublime creation that is totally captivating from the moment you pull the cork. This year’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a vineyard blend of grapes sourced from around Stellenbosch, including 46% Firgrove, 26% Helderberg, 15% Simonsberg and 13% Raithby, which were matured in 92% new French oak for 24 months. The aromatics on this pure Cabernet Sauvignon are incredible – lifted, complex and pristinely perfumed with violets and rose petals over saline crème de cassis, iodine and kelp, blueberry and black currants, sweet cedar spice and subtle mineral graphite undertones. Sometimes you just strike gold on a red wine where you find it difficult to move past the bouquet because it’s so expressive, animated and complex. The palate too has a beautiful density and piercing concentration but is also one of the first 2019 blockbuster reds that makes me think of the top premium 2017 Cabernets with their weightless fruit concentration and ethereal complexity. The fruit is so beautifully pinpoint and focused with hints of oyster shell, black cherry and maritime salinity over black berries, bramble berries and creamy, silky soft ripe tannins that envelop the palate. This is simply a monumental effort from Christo Le Riche and most definitely one of those wines that forces you to buy a case even when you know you already have enough wine maturing in the cellar. Irresistible! Drink the 2019 now after a short decant on and over the next 20+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
The Le Riche wines are distributed in the UK to trade by Boutinot’s Third Floor Wines and available retail via South African specialists like Museum Wines at circa £51.99 per bottle. http://www.museumwines.co.uk
2 thoughts on “Le Riche Delivers a Captivating Expression of Their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 in the Face of High Expectations…”
Bravo, Christo! This is an iconic Stellenbosch Cab Reserve. Can’t agree with you, though, Greg, that this Reserve is ready to drink now, with a short decant. I think with a few years in cellar, you will be rewarded with much more complexity and length on the palate….You might be referring to the regular Cab though.
I am just now drinking my 2013 Le Riche Cab Sauvignon Reserve, bought in December 2016. Fabulous.
With a decant, any young wine is drinkable. But of course, a wine of this pedigree will undoubtedly improve with cellaring. Many who buy it, specially those without cellars, will drink it sooner than later, rightly or wrongly. My stock answer is that a case of wine should be enjoyed over as many phases of its life as possible until depleted. Opening one on release is a good starting point to gauge a wine for one’s own drinking preferences.