Set up against the mountains, Dornier is a winery with striking, majestic grounds. The curve on the roof of the modern winery building echoes the mountains behind it and everything works to center upon the nature that envelopes the locale. This 21st building (named as such to distinguish it from the older 19th & 18th century buildings) was designed by the artistic eye of the winery owner, Christoph Dornier.

The winery bought in 1995 with first production in 2003, overseen by winemaker, JC Steyn. For some reason they decided to “go Starbucks” by having a lot of various imported African artworks for sale in the tasting room as with Dornier-branded merchandise. I’m not really sure as to why they did this as it’s something of a jarring shift from the very classy exterior.

Cocoa Hill Range

The 2009 Chenin Blanc has a citrus nose with a surprisingly mineral body to it. The is finish and good for hot days. It’s a tad bit watery, but most likely good with any light meal. R 45

The 2007 Red is a blend of Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc. The nose smells a great deal like a gummy bear and is not terribly appealing at all with weird strawberry aromas to it. The body is good deal more likeable being smoky and a bit deeper. It’s still a bit acidic in a bad way and not all that agile with a finish that is awkward and biting. R 60

Stellenbosch Range

The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon has a nose is so subtle as to not be there. There is the slightest hint of vanilla to it, but even that is a stretch. The body has a good deal more character with cinnamon, cassis and plum, while the finish goes out quite clean. Might pair decently well with steak. R 90

The 2005 Merlot has a decent amount of oak to the nose, which is covering up a lot of aromas, but in a way that’s more pleasing than the other wines. Cedar and cloves manage to slip their way out as aromas. The body is one of those rare examples of being a complete duplicate of the nose, but with the oak taking on too strong of a role, which then leads in to a rather abrupt finish. R 86

The 2007 Pinotage has a nose that is light and much like pine with a dab of mint to it. The body is relatively smooth and has a good deal of chocolate to it which is relatively pleasing. They make some minor comparisons to Pinot Noir qualities which are highly overstated. R 90

Donatus Range

The 2004 Red is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The nose is quite evocative on this one being more complex and well-structured. There is a touch of perfume to it with a hint of plum underneath and a tobacco quality bringing the two together. Tobacco comes in to the body a great deal as well as plum. Oak still comes through more than may be desired in the finish making it end with a punch that causes a finish that isn’t the smoothest, but clears out quite fast. R 200

We talk a great deal more about the wines of Stellenbosch and other Cape Town wineries in our Stellenbosch wine guide.


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