Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

St-Laurent, as well as being one of the few villages of any size in the médoc, is the name of a black grape variety for long thought to be related to pinot noir and today most commonly encountered in austria where it is known as Sankt Laurent. In 2014 dna profiling in New Zealand (where a little has been planted) apparently established that the variety is the progeny of pinot and savagnin. It is capable of producing deep-coloured, velvety reds with sufficient concentration—provided yields are limited—to merit ageing in oak and then bottle. Thanks to the German red wine boom of the 1990s, total German plantings had reached 600 ha/1,500 acres by 2003 and were almost 700 ha by 2012, mainly in Pfalz and Rheinhessen. In Austria its 761 ha in 2013 make it much more important than the viticulturally more demanding Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir). Certainly it has had several centuries to adapt itself to conditions in Thermenregion and Burgenland, where its viticultural disadvantages, dangerously early budding, tendency to drop its flowers and susceptibility to coulure and rot, are less problematic than in Alsace, for example. St-Laurent wine can resemble a powerful Pinot Noir. It is even more important in the czech republic and slovakia where it is once again known respectively as Svatovavřinecké and Svätovavrinecké, having been robbed of its sainthood during the communist regime when it was called simply Vavřinecké. Each country had more than 1,400 ha planted in 2009, making it one of their most planted red wine grapes.