DONATSCH - 5 GENERATIONS
The Donatsch family has owned the «Ochsen» in Malans for over 100 years. That's five Donatsch generations of wine connoisseurs. The family-owned business philosophy is to produce true wines of outstanding quality, typical of their location.
The Donatsch family runs a wine-growing estate in the Bündner Herrschaft (Grisons) - one of the leading Swiss wine regions - the wines of which belong to the best in Switzerland.
Heidi Donatsch runs the «Ochsen» wine bar and manages wine sales, while her husband Thomas concentrates solely on the wine-growing estate. Thomas Donatsch, who is recognised as a pioneer of Swiss wines, started to raise the quality of his wines to an international standard early in his life.
Inspired by Burgundy, he had already planted Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc in 1975, which, from a legal point of view, was not allowed at that time. In Switzerland he was the first to press a sparkling wine according to the Champagne method and to cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon (1983) in the region. Further, when it comes to pressing methods, Thomas was the first in Switzerland to experiment with wooden barrels. In 1973 the late André Noblet, a fellow winemaker from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti gave his friend, Thomas, three used «LaTâche» barrels, in which the first «Spiger» was cultivated according to the classical Burgundy method. To achieve all of these innovations it took courage, as well as oenological skills and the helpful exchange of information with other wine making friends all over the world.
During his vocational training as a vintner and winemaker with several wine-growing estates in Australia, South Africa, Bordeaux and Spain, Heidi and Thomas's eldest son Martin acquired many new ideas. After he returned home to Malans, he successfully integrated this in depth knowledge with tried and tested methods. Martin is convinced that the Bündner Herrschaft is amongst the best Pinot regions in the world and is sure that its potential is by no means exhausted.
Martin Donatsch has won the 2010 competition for «Champion du Monde des Producteurs de Pinot Noir» – the world champion among the pinot noir producers. The Mondial du Pinot Noir 2011 brought the confirmation: Martin was «WORLD CHAMPION PINOT NOIR PRODUCER» for the second time in succession!
The quality of the grapes must be right from the very beginning in order to produce top wines. As well as having Malans' excellent climate, this requires considerable attention to be devoted to the ground and vines.
Located on various plots, 4.5 hectares (11.12 acres) of vineyards belong to the Domaine Donatsch, with names such as «Spiger», «Selvenen», «Frassa», «Bovel» and «Halde». It is of great importance to us to look after our vineyards so they stay healthy and produce a high standard of quality for generations to come.
After years of experience, we have established which types of grapes are most suited to our ground and now grow these on each plot and thus produce top-class single vineyard wines. The Pinot varieties thrive particularly well in Malans. Therefore our main varieties are Pinot noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, but we also grow rarities like Completer, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. We constantly strive to produce wines of the highest quality, which we achieve by applying strict quality control in the vineyards and harvesting healthy grapes for pressing in the cellar.
WINERY - CELLAR
We work as close to nature as possible both in the cellar and in the vineyards. Each of our wines is individually cultivated in an optimum manner producing intrinsic single vineyard wines full of character.
Our wine cellar is divided into three modern working rooms and seven centuries old vaulted cellars. The grapes from the various vineyards are all cultivated separately, which leads to a great variety of wines. In this way, various unfermented white grape juices ferment in used barrels producing fruity white wines. To produce Chardonnay and Completer wines fermentation takes place in French oak barrels, where they are aged on the yeast in accordance with the Burgundy tradition, creating full-bodied, mellow white wines in the old Ochsen vaults.
All our red wines are stored in our imposing barrel cellar. We only use french barrels from Burgundy. The fruity Pinot noir «Tradition» in used barrels like a burgundy Village wine, the Pinot noir «Passion» like a premier cru (30% new oak) and the Pinot noir «Unique» just in new barrels like a Grand cru.
TASTING AT THE WINE BAR "ZUM OCHSEN"
In our wine bar "zum Ochsen" it is possible to order different wines by the glass.
Four white and four red wines from the Donatsch winery are available. For an individual tasting, you can choose four wines from these eight. Our staff will be pleased to advise you.
INDIVIDUAL WINE TASTING IN THE WINE BAR "ZUM OCHSEN"
(4 wines of your choice) 15.- CHF
GUIDED TASTING IN THE WINE CELLAR by reservation only
As we have a huge number of requests for cellar visits and would therefore be completely overwhelmed with tastings every day, we handle this as follows: Group cellar tours for groups of 10 or more persons are only possible in connection with a visit to our restaurant, where we offer classic soup of the harvest workers, typical Bündner dried meat, sausages and cheese. Unfortunately, we can no longer offer cellar visits without a combined visit to the restaurant, as we simply do not have enough capacity and the cellar would be blocked for other customers who would like this combination of cellar/tasting/dining.
TASTING IN THE CELLAR FOR GROUPS OF 10 PEOPLE OR MORE
Tasting in the cellar 30 CHF/ person
plus the cost of your restaurant orders
INFO: Because of time and security reasons we can not offer tastings in the cellar during the grape harvest and vinification time. In the time from mid-September to mid-November, tastings are possible only in our wine bar "zum Ochsen".