Le French Connection

Wednesday, 3 November, 2004
Charles Withington
Many years ago, in fact 1698 to be precise, the Le Riche family left Thimarais in Normandy to journey to South Africa as part of the Huguenot flight to a better life. Although this trip might have taken the Le Riches out of France, it obviously did not totally take France out of the Le Riches, and in 2002 and several generations later, Etienne Le Riche returned to France (Bergerac this time) and produced a vintage.

From a South African perspective this link has extra significance in that Etienne has always been regarded as one of South Africa's "classic" winemakers.  For all the 32 vintages he has harvested, his style has always leaned  in the direction of French elegance as opposed to the general "blast" of some New World wines.

Working with the grapes from the vineyard owner of  Domaine de Garrou  in Saussignac,  Etienne put together a wine he describes as follows:

"It still shows a lot of fruit because of its youth but has a lovely classical tannin structure. The classic elegance of the French wines comes across magnificently! Do not, though, expect similarities to my SA wines. What is so interesting is the fact that it is so different - even though it was made by the same person, with the same methods, from the same wine varieties, only in a different hemisphere. It certainly confirms the influence of terroir."

The wine is bottled in a most elegant bottle (of course!) with a very deep punt. The back label is in both English and French, with the front label all but identical to the normal Le Riche label but with a French Appelation.

Only a small quantity of this wine has been made and the first public showing will be next week at the Winex exhibition in Johannesburg from 26-29 October.

Otherwise it may be found as follows:


Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch
Telephone 021 8870789
E-mail: lerichewines@adept.co.za

NMK Schultz:  011 933 1974 or 083 634 0354 (Cathy White CWM)
E-mail : sales@nmk.co.za