Have you ever tasted a St. Laurent? I’m sure some of you have, and you might be getting ready to fire off an email taking me to task for claiming that you’ve never tried it.
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But for all of you for whom St. Laurent sounds mysterious and maybe not like a wine grape at all, this variety – and the aromatic, mineral-edged dry wine it can make in Austria’s wine country – is well worth getting to know.
Sometimes spelled Sankt-Laurent with an Austrian German accent, the variety is relatively obscure in the U.S. because it isn’t grown in the regions that take up most space in typical wine shops. Most common in Central Europe, it’s largely planted in Austria’s Niederösterreich and Burgenland regions, where most of the country’s red grapes are grown. It’s common also in the Czech Republic, and turns up occasionally in Germany’s Pfalz region and even occasionally in cooler New World locations like Canada and New Zealand.
Its DNA suggests a noble heritage. According to Wine-Searcher.com, “Saint-Laurent has long been thought to be related to Pinot Noir. Some DNA profiling suggests that it is even a direct offspring, but this finding remains unsubstantiated and debate continues on whether there is a relationship. It is certain, however, that Saint-Laurent is a parent of Zweigelt,” another well-regarded cool-climate red grape that shows well in Austria.
I’m telling you about Saint Laurent today because of my happy random fortune in running across an excellent bottle at a local wine shop. Erich Sattler Burgenland St. Laurent pleasantly surprised me with its subtle but delicious and complex mixed-berry and pomegranate flavors, woodsmoke and minerality. It’s sustainably farmed and certified organic. Like Pinot Noir, it’s versatile with food, and it shows some hope of aging well if you can keep it under good cellar conditions.
I highly recommend this wine. It’s well worth its $20 toll. You’ll find my tasting notes below.
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Today’s Tasting Report
Erich Sattler 2017 Burgenland St. Laurent ($19.99)
Tasted at cool cellar temperature, Erich Sattler Burgenland St. Laurent is a subtle but delicious delight. Dark reddish-purple in the glass with a thin garnet edge, it offers appealing aromas of mixed black cherries, cranberries, a whiff of pomegranate, and an intriguing hint of woodsmoke. Bright, palate-cleansing, and fully dry flavors follow the nose: tart berry fruit is shaped by mouth-watering acidity and a back note of tannic astringency. At a moderate 13% alcohol, it’s a good choice with foods that bridge the traditional red vs. white gap. U.S. importer: Skurnik Wines & Spirits, NYC; a Terry Theise Estate Selection. (May 22, 2021)
FOOD MATCH: In its home region, beef sauerbraten and grilled pork are traditional pairings. Try it with beef barbecue or roasted chicken or pork. It worked for us with an offbeat Sicilian pasta, spaghetti alla carrettiera, which came up to meet the wine with its mix of intense garlic, earthy Pecorino Romano cheese, and fiery crushed red-pepper flakes.
WHEN TO DRINK: With two more recent vintages on the market, this 2017 bottle is drinking well now, retaining good fruit-acid balance and present but approachable tannins. Assuming good cellar conditions, I wouldn’t hesitate to keep it for another three to five years.
It’s a good and interesting red wine from a relatively unknown grape. It’s worth the toll at Wine-Searcher.com’s $18 average U.S. retail and up to my local $20 price.
Here’s a fact sheet on a more recent vintage from importer Skurnik Wines.
The winery’s English-language web page lists brief details on its four varietal wines including Saint-Laurent.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Erich Sattler Burgenland St. Laurent on Wine-Searcher.com.
Follow this Wine-Searcher link for information about Burgenland and vendor information for wines of the region.
Click this link to read Wine-Searcher’s info page on the Saint-Laurent (Sankt Laurent) grape; page down to find vendor info for dozens of Saint-Laurent wines.
Wine Focus: Talk About Riesling
For your enjoyment, WineLovers Discussion Group co-host David Bueker, a serious Riesling lover, invites you to join this month’s Wine Focus conversation in our WineLovers Discussion Group: Wine 203: Summer of Riesling 2021.
Good wines under $10!
Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10 or less that I’ve told you about in recent years. Please tell us about your favorites!
- La Vieille Ferme Vin de France Rosé ($8.99)
- La Fiera Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($8.99)
- Laroque Cité de Carcassonne Cabernet Franc ($9.99)
- Domaine de Pouy 2016 Côtes de Gascogne ($7.99)
- Alamos Mendoza Malbec ($9.99)
- Caposaldo Chianti ($8.99)
- d’Arenberg McLaren Vale “The Stump Jump” ($9.99)
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