“Why is South Africa not on the map when it comes to the world’s first growth wines?” is the question that Philipp G. Axt and friends asked themselves over lunch at the beginning of January 2009. Giorgio Dalla Cia, formerly of Meerlust, was present and together they convinced themselves that given the terroir and human capital available locally, a wine of first growth status must be possible.
Axt gave up his job as a financial management consultant in Switzerland to focus on the project which goes by the name of 4G Wines, while Denis Dubourdieu, oenology professor at Bordeaux university, winemaker and consultant, joined after seeing the prototype 2009.
The first commercial release called G. 2010 hit the market in October last year at R2 300 a bottle. A blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Shiraz, 12% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, grapes were selected from 12 different vineyards across the Western Cape and it t spent 18 months in 100% new French oak, barrels hand selected from five different coopers. Total production was 3 410 bottles and we consumed bottle no. 1 583 over steaks at Giorgio Nava’s Carne restaurant last night.
The nose is hugely complex with aromas of berries, violets, vanilla, spice, smoke and oyster shell. The palate meanwhile is concentrated and intense with succulent red and black fruit, good freshness and smooth but not slippery tannins. Alcohol by volume is 15% but despite this the wine is remarkably cool and refreshing to drink. All very impressive but I found the wine a little too engineered, perhaps a reflection on how earnest those involved are that this should be seen as a worthy endeavour. Score: 17/20.