Description of St Laurent include “This is a trés hip
grape, folks. It’s Pinot Noirish with a ‘sauvage’
touch, and it can do nearly all the things fine Pinot Noir does, but
with added bottom notes of sagey wildness. More growers would plant
it, but the vine itself is prone to mutation and it can rarely be
left in the ground for more than twenty years or so. It won’t
flower unless the weather’s perfect. It produces a tight cluster
of thinskinned berries, and is thus subject to rot if conditions aren’t
ideal. ‘You have to be a little crazy to grow this grape,’
said one grower. Yet such vines become litmus tests for a vintner’s
temperament... when you see it you know, ipso facto, you’re
dealing with the right kind of lunatic...all kinds of growers are
stepping up to the challenge; St. Laurent has become the trendy grape,
and I gotta tell ya, I absolutely love it. If you love good
Burgundy but can’t afford to drink good Burgundy, this variety will satisfy you all kinds of ways.”
Austrian Wine catalog 2004
For a guide to St. Laurent & Meunier in Prince Edward County by Geoff Hendricks you can down load their free report. “St. Laurent, the local grape variety, is a class act similar in aromatic potential and subtle flavour to its distant relative, the Pinot Noir, but often more deeply colored and fuller-bodied than the latter". Michael Edwards. Click here to download PDF of St Laurent Pinot Meunier Report, thanks Geoff Hendricks
St Laurent and Pinot Noir DNA Study
Wines from Austria, check out Dr Ferninands Regner's Information on DNA origin of grapes interesting info!
St Laurent Bud Burst
Our plantings of St Laurent had bud burst in October 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 two days before clones 5 and 115 Pinot Noir and the fruit had veraison just prior to Pinot Noir clone 115. The literature on St Laurent appears to wrong about dangerously early bud burst unless that comment also applies to Pinot Noir. We did net the intial plantings against birds as they love the rich ripen grapes. As of March 2006 we find the St Laurent to be a few days ahead of Pinot Noir. We have a small barrel of 2007 St Laurent and the intial tasting looks promising.
St Laurent is an ancient seedling of Pinot Noir originating from Burgundy and grown principally in Austria and Czechoslovakia. This grape is described in Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes as capable of producing the finest quality wines with deep coloured, velvety, juicy fruit, and low tannin. At the 2004 Bragato Conference Dr Richard Smart recommended (Pinot) St Laurent for New Zealand conditions.
I recently found a northern Italy winemaker Casata Monfort vineyards are located in Beta in the municipality of Civezzano where the grape is naturally called San Lorenzo.The climate sounds similar to Central Otago.
The grape is also known as Saint-Laurent Noir, Saint-Lorents, Pinot Saint-Laurent and in Czechoslovakia as Vavrinecke or Svatovavrinecke.
The grape is also grown in British Columbia by Nichols Vineyard in the Okanagan Valley.
Paul imported St Laurent grape plants as tissue culture from Canada in 2001. The 5-10mm tissue cultures in glass vials were cultured by the Blue Mountain Nursery Grade 2 Quarantine facility from September 2001, transferred to small pots and released from Quarrantine following Ministry of Agriculture inspection after six months.
The first planting on own root plants in was completed in December 2003 and grafted plants are now available in 2005 onwards from Kate Gibbs of Stanmore Farm
The St Laurent grape was in the New Zealand (NZVIG) collection but these plants had leaf roll type 3 virus and were unsuitable. As there is no facility in New Zealand to heat treat material this project has started from proven disease free material in vitro from Canada.
The purpose of this project is to introduce a disease free St Laurent grape into New Zealand and to establish a viable high quality alternative to Pinot Noir.
Recent tastings by Central Otago winemakers have confirmed its potential.
Our mission is to produce the first gold medal St Laurent to compliment our awarding winning Pinot Noir.
We planted 70 vines on own roots in 2003, 150 St Laurent on 101.14 rootstock in October 2004 and planted 1850 on rootstock in 2005.
In June 2006 we visited Joseph Umathum in Frauenkirchen Austria. Joseph has selected the best of existing St Laurent grape material from the region and is undertaking further research to find the best St Laurent. He gave us a tasting of some 13 wines back to 1993 and we were impressed. His 1993 St laurent won the Burgundy Style Trophy, London 1995.
The following sites offer more information;
Svatovavrinecké (Saint Laurent ) Synonymum: Saint Laurent
(9.0% of the total vineyard plantings) Entered in the State Register of Grape Varieties in 1941 In France it is known as Saint Laurent, in Austria Sanktlorenztraube, and today this variety finds its greatest volume of planting in the Czech Republic. Genetic analysis demonstrates that it is related to the Pinot family. Generally Saint Laurent is cultivated using the high-training systems introduced in Austria and in this country, because it was found to be particularly well suited to this cultivar.
The vine is of vigorous growth, with medium leaves of triangular or pentagonal shape, with medium-deep indentations. Wood matures well and has good resitance to frost. Resistance to fungal diseases is moderate. Bunches are of medium size, conical and dense. Blue-black berries are usually oval and occasionally pushing out from the dense and thick bunches. Berries within the bunch take on less colour and have lower tannic content. Berries begin to take on colour around the time of St. Laurent's day (10th September). This variety has no particular preference for good vineyard positions and is tolerant to less fertile soils. In youth it produces an abundance of fruit, while in later life the crops are somewhat irregular.
Wines of Saint Laurent are much loved in these lands for their dark-red colour, ripe cherry and sometimes even blackcurrant nose, mature varietal character and interestingly structured tannins. Young wines tend to have relatively high acidity levels. They make a good match with red meat and strongly flavoured cheeses.