Le Riche Wines
Le Riche Wines are crafted in the Jonkershoek Valley, just outside Stellenbosch. Approximately 60 tons of grapes are processed, of which 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Chardonnay. The relatively small size of the estate allows him to follow every step of the process personally. It also helps to focus and to be acknowledged as someone who specialises in Cabernet Sauvignon.
The grapes are handsorted, fully de-stemmed and immediately transferred to open tanks to ferment. If necessary, the tanks are covered and be hermetically sealed, but it is preferred to leave the wine to ferment in open tanks. During this process, which takes about five days, the yeast cake is submerged at regular intervals; juice is extracted from the bottom of the vat and sprayed over the yeast cake at the top, activating contact between the husks, yeast cells and juice.
Alternatively, big sieve-like plungers are used to plunge through, and break the yeast cake, thus also encouraging maximum contact. The very young wine is left in contact with the yeast cake for another two weeks to improve extraction of colour and aroma. Therefore, the tanks are covered to avoid bacterial problems. After this maceration period, malolactic fermentation follows after which the wine matures for 18 to 24 months (depending on the wine) in oak barrels, mainly French Nevers oak. The barrels are medium toasted to temper the oak influence. The bottles are labeled using a small hand-machine.
Skill of Specialisation
Because Etienne does not have his own vineyards, it is of the utmost importance that he chooses the right grapes. This is probably the secret to his success, not being limited to one vineyard or region. He has the luxury of finding the best viticulturists, the best grapes and the best soil. With 90% of his production being Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stellenbosch region, he can be classed as a real specialist. Assistant winemaker, Mark Daniels, also has years of experience in the ‘nursing' of Cabernet from the fermentation stage through the maturation and the bottling stages.
Le Riche Wines Leef op Hoop Farm, Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Tel / Fax: +27 21 887 0789