Sunday, January 24, 2016

St Laurent Specialist

We have a particular interest in the St Laurent variety, but in reality don’t profess any true or deep expertise.  It’s just that SWMBO works with it in her vast portfolio.  We get to taste one man’s interpretation of it every year, and we do try to taste as many other examples made here, and especially from Austria.  The ones made here capture the fruitiness of the variety, but don’t have the more interesting flavours, or the textures in the right (?) balance.  But having said that, a number of the real McCoys have been spoilt by brettanomyces.  Which is better?  It’s subjective.

However, a 2009 Pittnauer St Laurent ‘Alte Reben’ from the Burgenland changed our minds in favour of the genuine article.  Gerhard Pittnauer is a specialist with it, and also makes top end Pinot Noir, and his vineyards are biodynamic.  This is a single site wine from old vines, and aged 18 months in large oak, so it leaves the fruit as the hero.  The funky label suggests what this wine is all about.  Dark coloured, a little age showing, but with an intense and complex amalgam of dark red and black fruits along with herbal elements.  The wine is firm and intense, with well-judged structure.  It isn’t firm, but has an accessibility too.  The flavours are savoury and interesting, but also rich and sweet, though with restraint. There’s a hint of game and mineral detail, and nothing to spoil it as with a number of its compatriots.  A wine to admire indeed.

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