Christoph Dornier, born into a family of engineers, knew from an early age that art would be his life. And he became an artist of international repute.
He was attracted to Stellenbosch and in the early 1990’s he became one of the first foreign investors in post apartheid South Africa. The mystical aspects of wine, its symbolism and beauty enchanted Dornier. Assisted by his youngest son Dr Raphael Dornier, his dream became a reality before his death in August 2008.
‘With our small range of unique wines we will showcase the potential and character of our soils as well as our individual style. With the support of our dedicated team we will strive to improve from vintage to vintage based on our tradition of creativity, innovation and perfection.’ Dr Raphael Dornier
I have visited Dornier Estate in Stellenbosch a couple of times in the last year. The first thing that strikes you is the architectural beauty of the superb modern cellar, the legacy of Christoph Dornier’s life long passion for architecture. Where one is used to white washed old Cape Dutch buildings on wine estates, here is something that sits so comfortably in the most majestic of surroundings, the sensational Helderberg.
In superb contrast looking over the modern cellar is a white washed Cape Dutch building which houses the Bodega Restaurant, which in the space of just one year has become a popular eatery in the winelands. Their signature ‘Farm Cuisine’ is perfectly matched to their chef – Naas Pienaar. His philosophy? ‘I believe that food should be in abundance, but that it needs to be healthy, real food that has integrity and a twist’ says Naas. At Bodega Naas will indulge his love for freshly baked breads, slow braised foods, authentic cured meats and good old-fashioned ‘farm food’ – with a twist of course.
‘I believe I am privileged to live and work here. Much more so being a winemaker in one of the prime winegrowing areas of the world. Nature has given us the opportunity to get the best from two worlds, the combination of elegance and fruit. Producing classic wine for modern people is what we can do best.’
Dornier Wines consist of three ranges.
Donatus are the flagship red and white blends. Terroir driven wines, made from carefully selected fruit from Dornier’s home vineyards. Both the red and the white wines are fermented and aged in separate batches and skillfully blended after a long ageing process. The wines offer complexity, elegance, perfect balance and freshness.
Donatus Red is a Cabernet Franc 70% and Merlot 30% blend. The Cabernet Franc lending its forest floor whiffs and flavours to the ripe black plums, mulberries and blackberries of the merlot. Gentle dry tannins and an appealing minerality are found in the long aftertaste of this wine.
The Donatus White brings together rich and complex flavours of barrel aged Chenin Blanc (81%) with the rich mouthfeel of the Semillon (19%). Slow and cold fermentation of 40% of both wines in new French oak and the remainder in 2nd fill barrels and then 7 months on fine lees has made this a wine of great complexity. Ripe pear and white-fleshed peaches are found in the nose as well as rich coffee from the toasted barrels, full flavours of the wines from the lees, the freshness of the Chenin and the fullness of the mouthfeel of the Semillon make it a grand expression of Dornier.
The Dornier Range of single variety wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot and a Pinotage reflects the abundance of flavours in the fruits of Dornier’s Stellenbosch vineyards. Well balanced and concentrated, these wines are true to variety and have JC Steyn’s characteristic ‘perfect balance”.
The Cocoa Hill Wines are midweek wonder wines, offering lively fruit, uncompromised pleasure, and great value. The range includes a Chenin Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Rosé and a Red Blend. These are drink with the Thai foods, take to the picnic, to the beach or quaff happily with that which comes out of the kitchens of the Bodega Restaurant.
In a time of seafaring and spice, pirates played in Table Bay…
Among them was Long Ben – as fierce as he was tall,
he looted and pillaged and scavenged from all.
Ben fast became known for being up to no good,
and so fled from the seas and gave up his loot.
He planted some vines, as was the way,
and peered out towards the ocean almost every day.
Long Ben would have gazed longingly at the vista of Table Bay
from where our vines grow today, on Cocoa Hill.
Winegrowing Area Stellenbosch
Owners Dornier Family
Winemaker JC Steyn
Blaauwklippen Road off the R44 Stellenbosch.
P.O. Box 7518 Stellenbosch 7599.
Western Cape, South Africa.