We popped into Dornier the other day for a casual Sunday afternoon. A friend works in the tasting room and so we said we would come and visit. The drive there on Blaauwklippen road is beautiful and there are a few other noteworthy farms along the way. I have never been to Dornier before and was quite impressed. They have moved the wine tasting area closer to the restaurant, although I do think that it is a waste of a beautiful building on the other side of the grass. But nonetheless, closer to the restaurant does make it more social, festive and relaxing.
The restaurant at Dornier is Bodega and is housed in the old barn. With the wine tasting lounge in one of the rooms, you can even do a tasting with your lunch. There is a pretty cool playground for the kids, just far enough from the tables that you can still see them, but they are not bothering other patrons who don’t have kids :). We were just there for the wine tasting, but ordered an ice-cream cone anyway because they looked so delicious.
I tasted a few of the wines, but the boys decided to just order a bottle. They get over the tasting and want to just sit and relax with a good bottle. They did taste the Cocoa Hill Savignon Blanc and the Cocoa Hill Chenin Blanc and settled with the Chenin for the afternoon. Delicious pineapple and peach flavours and very fresh on a sunny afternoon. The Sav B was also really good, just more of your guava and tropical fruit flavours. I tasted the Cocoa Hill Rosé, made purely from Merlot grapes, it has a nice dry-ness to it so it is not too sweet and delicious strawberry flavours, another lovely summer wine.
Cocoa Hill is the entry level wine range at Dornier and named as they say by the “Pirate” who originally landed in Table Bay and found his way to this corner of the valley. He planted vineyards after declaring the soil to be so dark, rich and lovely just like cocoa and perfect for vines. If nothing else, its a cool story!
The Dornier Donatus White is a Chenin Blanc (86%) and Semillon blend which won bronze at the Decanter World Wine Awards and has a 91 on that points system the Americans tend to use – which is a pretty high score! The wine has spent 6 months in French oak which you can immediately pick up on the nose and gives it a slight Chardonnay-ness to it, but being a predominantly Chenin it is still quite light. It is very smooth and creamy on the palate and surprisingly light with very subtle pear and peach flavours – lovely.
White wines were clearly the order of the day it looks like, but I managed to sneak in a taste of the flagship red Dornier Donatus Red a blend of Cab Sav, Malbec and Cab Franc. Delicious! A slightly heavier wine, but still somehow easy on the palate. Loads of berries and subtle mocha as well as some tannins in their too. One can certainly appreciate the 4.5 star John Platter rating!
Delicious wines all round! Even the entry level range was great quality.
We had a superb afternoon and will definitely be back, it is well worth a visit especially for a leisurely weekend lunch.
Blaauwklippen Road, Stellenbosch
Tel: +27 21 880 0557
33°59’31 S; 18°52’15 E
Wine Tasting Daily 10h00 – 17h00
Restaurant Lunch Daily & Tapas 16h00 – 18h00