St. Laurent is a highly aromatic dark-skinned wine grape variety. Its origins shrouded in mystery, St. Laurent is believed to have resulted from a crossing of Pinot noir with an unknown second parent. Some scholars say the grape originated in France, folklore has that it made its way to Austria with the Cistercian monks via Alsace and Germany. It is part of the pinot noir family, a crossing of the great Burgundian grape and some unknown variety.
One negative property is that the wines tend to always be low in alcohol. Austria is the major grower and producer of this wine.
St. Laurent has established itself as the "go-to" grape for red wine produced in the Czech Republic
It was first planed in USA by Ricci Vineyards in 2018. Ricci is in the Sonoma region of California
The grape has found its way to Canada. Growers in Prince Edward County,Ontario are working with the grape. Harwood Estate produces st Laurent. They say this about the wine:
Our rare and unique off-spring of the Pinot Noir has finally been released. This estate grown, medium bodied red was barrel aged for 16 months in largely French oak. It offers savoury aromas with notes of dark cherry and plum. Deep in colour, this wine has an elegant texture and a long mineral finish. You can pair it with gamey meats, tomato-based pastas and aged cheeses.
By Chadsey's Cairns Winery and Vineyard uses the grape in their 2018 3-Point Hitch blend
We have grown St. Laurent between 2003 and 2019, our last vintage being 2018.
We liked it because it added some colour and feeling of depth to our medium bodied reds, in a Gamay/St.Laurent blend. We did a single vintage rose one year which was very popular. But the most popular of all its uses was as a sparkling red wine. We made a traditional method sparkling blend with Gamay twice and we made a charmat version of the same blend 4 or 5 times. Without a doubt it was the crowd favorite.
We sold that vineyard many years ago but kept using the grapes until the 2019 vintage, as we start to pull back towards retirement.
It was challenging to grow, which is why we started taking half the grapes off each plant to make a sparkling so that the plants could then push sufficient sugar production to make a still wine with the remainder.
Hence the blends.
Broken Stone in Hillier owned by Micheline & Tim Kuepfer has a block of St. Laurent and will bottle some in 2020
"I doubt if many more acres will be planted. The local plantings don’t produce viable yields, don’t develop enough sugars, and are very high acid reportedly even in the best years. Too bad because it can make an interesting wine."
Nichol Vineyards in British Columbia produced a 2016 St Laurent.
Austrian Vintner Gerhard Pittnauer from Gols says "This high quality and the variation in styles appear to be a question not only of terroir, but of the vintner’s desire to express this. I think that the most important requirements for a good St. Laurent are talent, idealism, and passion.”
Wines are often strong, deep red in color, whilst fresh and fruity with aromas of elderberries or wild cherries. Depending on the fruitiness and density, they can pair with lighter or stronger dishes such as game and mature cheese.
Note: The Zweigelt grape varietal was developed in 1922 by the famous viticulturist Dr. Fritz Zweigelt by crossbreeding the Bläufrankisch and St Laurent grape varietals.