– Božice, Czech Republic
The family-run winery Donatus was founded in 2019 by Josef Leisser, Peter Michalík, and Eliška Leisserová. The vineyards are located in Božice, a village in the southeastern region of Czechia, on the edge of the Znojmo and Mikulov regions. Pepa, Eliška, and Peter are the faces of the winery and are members of the “Svéhlaví [Stubborn] association” of winemakers who make wine differently.
Since its inception, the Domaine has been engaged in wine production with minimal interventions that reflect the terroir of eastern Znojmo, where typical loess and light sandy soils are mixed with the limestone influence of bordering Mikulov. This makes for a unique varietal composition that differs slightly from the Znojmo classics, Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Blanc, to name a few.
Donatus produces Pinot Blanc, two types of Riesling, the mysterious Zweigelt and elusive Blaufränkisch, and the region’s secret called Pálava, which is a special wine from Moravia, where winemakers use skin-contact maceration to give it extra character and flavor.
The goal is simple: showcase traditional local varieties and wines that are fermented spontaneously in barrels or on skins. They’re bottled without further intervention, apart from a small amount of sulfur.
The result: refreshing wines with subtle cloudiness, a full mouthfeel, balanced acidity, and without flaws. The high interest of foreign distributors testifies to how quickly they’ve built a good reputation in the world of natural wines.
Their Xmas wine of choice is the Blaufränkisch 2021. Made with cold maceration in open vats for 6 weeks, then aged in used barrique barrels for 9 months. From the distributor: “We love this style of red! Don’t expect anything heavy, but a light and fresh Blaufränkisch with a wonderfully lightly perfumed aroma of hibiscus and rose accompanied by the juiciness of cranberry and red currant. Lively acidity and fine minerality are also present here.” 11% ABV.
Cultivation: 3 ha
Production: 20,000 bottles/year
Varieties: Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Welschriesling, Palava, Müller-Thurgau, Muscadet, Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch
Sulfites: 20 – 40 mg/l