by Alfred Thorpe on 14.10.2016
Intimate in Stellenbosch…
A lot of the South African wineries have impressive architecture, panoramic views of the valley and five star restaurants. They are all perfectly suited to take guests that you want to impress but there is one thing they lack – personality.
I was privileged to join the Le Riche family on their farm for a morning of hearing their stories and tasting their (incredible) wines. We were walking through the vineyard, with both father and son telling us their stories. Etienne has a gentle approach and spoke with the authority of a sage. He has made some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon that Stellenbosch has on offer and has been handing his “baby” over to his son. What better person to hand over your “kingdom” than to a loved one?
In contrast with Etienne’s gentle approach, Christo is a fierce warrior, ready to take on the world and prove to them that Stellenbosch makes the best Cabernet Sauvignon that money can buy. He is really passionate, not only about his own wines but about the whole (local) industry. He would fight for the greater good until Stellenbosch is proven the world leader of Cabernet Sauvignon.
There are two things that stood out while visiting the farm. Both father and son’s hard work, as well as their personalities are captured in well-aged red wines. Tasting wine with them around a table, getting to know them better also felt as if you were getting to know the wine better. The other thing that was unique is that I had the opportunity to sit with two generations of winemakers at one table, tasting a lifetime’s hard work with them …no layers in between, no front-of-house staff who were trained to say certain things about a wine, no corporate structure. Authentic wines and winemakers.
Just as I thought the day couldn’t get any better, Marcelle le Riche brought out a steaming hot venison pie that she prepared for us. I believe that any good cabernet sauvignon should be enjoyed with a steak but I learnt something new that day. A great Cabernet Sauvignon and venison pie is a perfect match.
It is such a priviledge to be invited into someone’s home, and in this case a small family owned business, filled with passion and pride. You too can experience a little bit of this by joining the family in their garden every First Thursday of the month, when they open their garden to the public, to enjoy wine with them. Contact the winery to book your place for the next First Open Thursday, taking place on 3 November 2016. www.leriche.co.za
If you want to see a summary of what we experienced on the day, watch the video that Natalie Roos did to summarise the day beautifully.
We’re setting off to Mpumalanga next week with this amazing crew of storytellers! Be sure to follow their journeys.
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A lot of the South African wineries have impressive architecture, panoramic views of the valley and five star restaurants. They are all perfectly suited to take guests that you want to impress but there is one thing they lack – personality.
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