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A Stellenbosch winery won an historic set of prizes - for the world's most contested wine

Business Insider SA
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Bottle of Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
  • Le Riche winery located in Helderberg, Stellenbosch, took home two awards at the 2021 Global Fine Wine Challenge for their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 and 2017.
  • It's the first time in the competition's history that one cellar has been awarded first and runner up prizes for Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • The accolades are said to be "a recognition of the world-class excellence of Cabernet from the unique Stellenbosch area," says its cellar master.
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Le Riche Winery, located in the lower Helderberg region of Stellenbosch bagged not one but two awards at the Global Fine Wine Challenge. They are the first cellar to claim the first and runner up prize for Cabernet Sauvignon in the competition's history.

The prizes were awarded for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Le Riche Reserve 2018 and 2017. The competition, which has five participating countries, is judged by 11 judges who blind tasted 120 wines which are divided into 22 classes with points awarded in each class. Among the panelist of judges was South African international wine expert Michael Fridjhon.  

The awards according to Cellar Master, Christo le Riche are a recognition of "world-class excellence of Cabernet from the unique Stellenbosch area." The family run winery established in 1996, by now retired Etienne le Riche, first operated from Jonkershoek Valley and moved to Stellenbosch in 2010. It is now under the stewardship of his son Christo and daughter Yvonne le Riche.

Their relocation led them to design a new cellar in Helderberg and coupled with harvesting red grapes in the Stellenbosch region, with its rich soil, they are able to produce ultra-premium red wines in a classic South African style.  

"Yes, the latest award is good for us, but actually even better for Stellenbosch, specifically for the association Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective, because it places the region and country on the world stage," says Le Riche. The region according to Le Riche has been often ignored and Le Riche hopes that this win will not only toast the winery, but also toast the progress that the region's Cabernet producers have made by placing South Africa as a rapidly emerging producer of Cabernet globally.

Stellenbosch is home to more than 30 wine estates on the Stellenbosch Wine Route. The esteemed wine route, established in 1971, offers top wine producers such as Spier, Boschkloof, and Blaauwklippen among many others.

Undoubtedly, listed as one of the winery's four pillars of success is Stellenbosch. The area is one of the defining characteristics of Le Riche's wine. The Le Riche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 offering which goes for R780 directly from the cellar is a blend of complexity and sophistication with aromas of blackcurrant, cassis, and violet.

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Christo, Etienne and Yvonne le Riche

According to Le Riche the aim is to make it a priority that the final wine captures the specific area the grapes are grown

Under their belt the Le Riche Winery are two-time recipients of the John Platter's Red Wine of the Year in 2010 and 2019 - and nine-time recipients of the Platter Five Star for their Cabernet Sauvignons. 

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