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The St. Laurent Grape


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About St. Laurent

(Synonyms: Blauer Saint Laurent, Chvartser, Laourentstraoube, Laurenzitraube, Laurenztraube, Lorentstraube, Lorenztraube, Lovrenac Crni, Lovrijenac, Lovrijenac Crni, Saint Laurent noir, Saint Lorentz, Sankt Laurent, Sankt Lorenztraube, Sant Lorentz, Schwarzer, Schwarzer Lorenztraube, Sent Laourent, Sent Lovrenka, Sentlovrenka, Shentlovrenka, Shvartser, St. Laurent, Svati Vavrinetz, Svatovavřinecké, Svatovavrinetske, Svatovavrinetzke, Svätovavrinecké, Svaty Vavrinec, Szent Lörinc, Szent Lörinczi, Szent Loerine, Szentlörinc, Vavrinak.)

Background

Map showing Austria and the Czech Republic

St. Laurent is a red-wine grape believed to have arisen in Bordeaux, but which migrated through Alsace and Germany to centeral Europe, its current home, where it is today grown in significant quantities in Austria and its neighbor to the north, the Czech Republic. It is not yet well known outside those regions, but is generally considered one of the dozen and a half or so of world-class red-wine grapes (those in boldface in the varietals list to the left of the page).

The grape is generally thought to be an offspring of Pinot Noir (with the other parent yet unknown), with which it shares many characteristics—indeed, it is often bottled as a blend with Pinot Noir. Broadly speaking, one might say that St. Laurent is a slightly more robust and slightly less subtle wine than Pinot Noir, tending toward wines of strength rather than PN's delicacy; but it is not unknown for even experts to occasionally confound the two types.

Austria (much like Switzerland in this respect) makes many good to excellent wines rarely seen outside its borders, because their producion and consumption are nearly equal; only quite recently has there been much interest in exporting their wines. Thus, St. Laurent wines are still rather scarce in the U.S., which is rather a shame. (Incidentally, Austria also produces some fine Pinot Noirs.)

St. Laurent wines tend to be strong on dark fruit flavors (especially cherry), with pronounced but soft tannins and good, acid-balanced structure. There is a modern tendency to heavy use of oak in vinifying St. Laurent, though many winemakers think it an ill idea.

Factoid: St. Laurent is one of the parents (along with Blaufräankisch, aka Lemberger) of the now-popular variety Zweigelt.


Some Descriptions of St. Laurent Wines


Some St. Laurents to Try

(About this list.)

Because this variety is not well known in the U.S., there is, by and large, little written about it, and the dearth of quotable comments on most of the wines listed below demonstrates that. If you want to be in on what's trending, St. Laurent is as good a place to start as any.

To demonstrate its unfamiliarity, we note that we could, after applying our usual filters of quality/price/availability, only find a couple of specimens to list.

The quotations below are excerpts; we strenuously urge you to click on the green diamond symbol by each quoted review to see the full article.
Kurt Darting Durkheimer Feuerberg St. Laurent Trocken
(Bad Durkheim, Germany.)

• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• This wine's CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine's Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.


Some quotations and facts about this wine:

♣ Reviews for this wine are rarities, despite the bottlings obviously being fairly popular with the public.

Medium dark ruby color; red plum, berry, apricot nose; tart red plum, currant, apricot palate; medium-plus finish. 88+ points



Erich Sattler St. Laurent
(Burgenland, Austria. This is not the "Reserve" bottling.)

• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• This wine's CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine's Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.


Some quotations and facts about this wine:

Aromas are attractively savory and infused with floral scents of dried violets. Ripe and juicy fruit intermingles with tannins offering subtle astringency. An altogether pretty wine.

I would definitely recommend this wine to people that are fond of Pinot Noir. It drinks like a old-world style Pinot, but with a bit more flesh on its bones. The skin on St. Laurent is darker, and the wine definitely reflects that. A deep, pretty shade of eggplanty-purple, the nose is generous and forthcoming. Notes of creamy vanilla swirl about after some initial blue fruits, black cherry, blackberry, violets, cherry cough drops, and a touch of evergreen. The palate is richer than it’s 13% alcohol reflects and uber-smooth. It finishes with a tang of red plums and redcurrants. Really tasty.

Medium-bodied, with dried berry and plum pudding flavors that feature notes of porcino. The tannins clamp down on the taut, savory finish. Wine Spectator, Web 2014]

Quite surprising how Sattler gets as much complexity with fermentation only in steel (no wood at all on this wine); very meaty, both in body and tastes, with flecks of green herbs.

After giving it about 20 or 3o minutes in the refrigerator to bring it down to cellar temperature, we opened it with a dinner of spicy pasta. The wine had alluring aromas of dark fruit, iron and earth. It felt tightly wound on the palate, with lots of dark fruit, some spice and a laser focus from start to finish. The Sattler family clearly knows how to coax the best out of this finicky variety.

He said: Opened 30-minutes before drinking. Dark ruby red color with lots of purple tint and a pale red rim. Light plum and blackberry aromas with distinct hints of earth. Quite strong, DRY, dark fruit taste with silky smooth tannins and a bursting with juiciness fruit flavored medium-length dusty finish. Light bouquet, but a plush mouth-feel with lots of lingering flavors. This is a wine that’s very similar to Pinot Noir and it has a complexity that grows with every sip. A good value Austrian red.
She said: The aroma was very light and led to an equally light taste. The wine was dry, had a medium body and super smooth tannins all the way through the medium-length finish. It was food friendly and went well with our rather bland flavored dinner. I really liked the dryness and ultra-soft but tasty tannins. It was VERY good but a little neutral for my palate.




For a Splurge

It's not a lot better than those listed above, but neither is it a lot more money; it's the Erich Sattler Reserve St. Laurent (Burgenland).

• That wine at 1000 Corks
• That wine at Wine Searcher
• Its Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.
• Its CellarTracker pages.

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This page was last modified on Friday, 2 June 2017, at 5:16 pm Pacific Time.