Stellenbosch winery Dornier is an operation that I have few fixed ideas about, good or bad. What to make of the flagship white blend Donatus White 2009? A cellar door price of R120 suggest that it’s not to be trifled with. It’s a blend of 77% Chenin Blanc sourced from the Swartland and 23% of Stellenbosch Semillon, a somewhat unusual union. Both varieties were barrel fermented in a combination of first- and second-fill French oak, before being matured for eight months.
The resulting wine is rich and intense but somehow the two partner varieties dance around each other rather than fully embracing. Supposedly the freshness of Semillon is meant to compliment the opulence of Chenin, but I’m not sure it’s a happy marriage. Then again, a little bit of creative tension is precisely why some relationships work. I’m thinking Jean-Paul Sarte and Simone de Beauvoir, for instance.