Doing the Dornier

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.


Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars

Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
93 2 Stars

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars