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Austria's rare St. Laurent grape

When most people think of Austrian wines, if they even think of them at all, the first things coming to mind might be Grüner Veltliner or perhaps even fine Riesling from the Wachau region. Yet the Austrians produce some delicious dry reds! Today we will investigate the rather obscure origins of the mysterious Saint Laurent.

St Laurent ripens on the 10th of August, Saint Lawrence's day, hence the name. The grape is believed to have arisen in Bordeaux, and migrated through Alsace and Germany to Central Europe, its current home, where it's widely grown in Austria and the neighbouring Czech Republic. The overall character holds the aroma and elegance of a good Pinot noir with much more colour and quite sturdy tannins. It's fragrant, velvety and full of that pungent complexity we love in Pinot Noir.

The warm vineyards of the Thermenregion south of Vienna are “too far from the River Danube to benefit from its refreshing influence,” according to The World Atlas of Wine, but it’s an ideal place to grow rot-susceptible St. Laurent. The region acquired its name, in part, from geothermal hot springs that flow under the vineyards, contributing to favourable wine growing conditions. The Reinisch family farms here organically and takes its thoughtful approach from vineyard to cellar to bottle.

Now in its fourth generation of winemakers, the estate is run by Johann Reinisch's three sons: Hannes, Michael and Christian. With a 2,000 year legacy of wine growing in the region, they are best known for excellent Pinot Noir and St. Laurent.

The St. Laurent grapes get harvested in early October and once the wine has fermented, it gets aged for 12 months in big oak barrels, making an excellent match to all kinds of roast, dark meat and wild poultry. It will impress you with a bouquet reminding of forest fruits, sour cherries and marzipan. Weekend roast coming up by any chance? Here's the perfect bottle to pick up...

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