The perfect match

Wine columnist Michael Olivier maintains that you can't change what's in the bottle so you need to match the food to the wine and that's what he experienced at Dornier Bodega Restaurant.

by: Michael Olivier | 05 Sep 2007

I was out at the Dornier Winery to christen their new Bodega Restaurant – the chef of which is Tullishe le Roux a bright young chef who worked for me soon after coming out of chefs school about 12 years ago. Tullishe one might ask? Her father was a fan of the rock group Jethro Tull!

It also gave me a chance to taste the latest releases from Dornier and to revisit some old friends.

Tullishe did some great food which bodes well for the future of Bodega, a delicious Sweet Potato Gnocchi with laksa reduction was served up with the screw-capped Dornier Cocoa Hill Chenin and they were the perfect counterbalance to each other, the crunchy cashews in the bottom creamy tasting like the Chenin. I liked the Cocoa Hill Rosé, made like a true rosé, grapes grown especially for it, lain on the skins for perfect colour extraction, pressed and fermented dry.

For me the heroic matching was Donatus with a roasted rump of lamb with a deeply delicious spoonful of Moroccan Chickpeas, lovely spice and some added butternut for sweetness and texture. The Dornier Donatus Red 2004 is predominant in Cabernet Franc which adds such delicious flavours and aromas to a wine, rich loamy forest floor smells and violets. The blood plum and black berry flavours of the Merlot are silky smooth with soft tannins adding some refinement, and a lovely long minerally aftertaste making it a perfect food wine.

Whatever you do, order a Flammkuchen with nougat and chocolate on it as a sweet ending with your coffee. Its an Alsatian pizza and just wondrous.

The Helderberg is known for it ability to produce some great red wines and many a reputation has been made on its slopes. Hempies du Toit of Annandale, Jeremy Walker of Grangehurst, Jannie Engelbrecht of Rust en Vrede and latterly Rianie Strydom of Haskell Vineyards. Had a taste of her Dombeya Boulder Road Shiraz 2005 recently. A thoroughly deliciously different wine, delicate and feminine with a tantalizing spiciness pepping up the sweet white heart cherries.

Michael Olivier trained at The London Cordon Bleu Cookery School and is a well known Cape food and wine fundi. He is now a food and wine specialist with Pick 'n Pay, occasional broadcaster and hospitality industry consultant. His book Michael Olivier – a Restaurateur Remembers, is published by Double Storey Books. Michael's website is which he would love you to visit. Email him on if you are not able to source any of the wines mentioned above.

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