I second corecdx, is a good choice I use it often. It is a bare minimal install with a working x.
It is only fluxbox for a de, lynx for a browser.
From here you can build and install the packages you want on your system. I suggest you stay with the sabayon package manager entropy.
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equo install <package name>
If you do not have time to install gentoo, why mess with compiling from portage, and lose one of the best features of sabayon?
Installing sabayon and running portage to me is like shooting yourself in the foot.
Entropy is a awesome package manager, all the packages available in portage are available in entropy, if you do not see it in entropy but is available in portage. Make a package request and you will get it soon.
entropy package maintainers takes the source packages from portage, compiles them converts them to binary for entropy.
All the hassle of blocked packages, circular dependencies, so on and so forth are fixed for you, and entropy will even get your coffee for you while it updates your kernel and bootloader.
Sabayon is not the easy button for gentoo, running a mixed system of portage and entropy, takes more effort then just installing gentoo and using portage. You need a good understanding of both entropy and portage to make it work with no issues. And thus you spend more time admin the system.
imho, if you want gentoo install it, if you install sabayon keep it simple and enjoy the benefits it offers.
Posted from a gentoo box.