Origins of the St. Laurent grape variety
The origins of St. Laurent are a mystery. Experts disagree about whether they lie in the Pinot family or whether it is a completely unrelated variety. Some suppose it originated in Alsace as the variety has been known there since the middle of the 19th century. Yet others think Austria is its homeland, where it is still relatively widespread today.
Its name is certainty no indication of French ancestry as it is generally agreed that this refers to Saint Lawrence. His feast day on 10 August namely marks the beginning of the vine’s ripening phase – after this date the grapes gradually turn red.
In Czechia and Slovakia, where the biggest growing areas are, the vine enjoys a certain popularity. It is known there as Svatovavřinecké.
Fruity St. Laurent wines
This grape variety yields full-bodied, fruity wines
that resemble Pinot noir
. The extract and acidity structure of a St. Laurent wine could be described as average. It varies with respect to tannins – sometimes they are softer, and at other times more astringent. Compared with red noble grapes such as Pinot noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
, it has its own individual qualities. It displays a distinctive sour cherry aroma with nuances of blackcurrants, elderberries and cocoa. Even before taking a sip, the wine’s intense colour is eye-catching. In the glass it is pomegranate red.
A St. Laurent wine is capable of long ageing. As it matures, it resembles more and more the character of Pinot noir. Especially good results are achieved with barrique-ageing and so the finest St. Laurent wines are produced in oak barrels. Thanks to its pronounced fruitiness, it goes well with game and mature cheese.
Cultivation of the St. Laurent variety
The St. Laurent grape is very demanding and is difficult to grow and tend. It has little resistance to fungus and pests. It prefers loose, calcareous soils and good sites. It does not cope well with late frosts, and its yields are also unreliable. These characteristics may well be the reason why winegrowers often prefer other red varieties. It is therefore found in very few places around the world.